Art Review: Yayoi Kusama @ Tate Modern

Yayoi Kusama is renowned for her repeating polka dot patterns, whether in paintings, on walls or over naked bodies. This exhibition is a retrospective that charts Kusama’s development from her early Dali-esque landscapes through to the larger installations that she is famous for.

The art itself is a reflection of Kusama’s personal growth. It starts off as introspective and disturbing, expressing the self-doubt that she felt at the beginning of her career; but as Kusama became more confident her works adopted simpler forms and bolder colours.

At first, the curation attempts to provide some background on Kusama’s journey, transporting you into her mindset, moving through all the phases of her career and the techniques she experimented with. The finishes with a flourish by displaying her latest and most impressive installations and paintings.

Her works are most arresting when they are on a large scale such as the sculpture titled ‘Heaven and Earth’ that was created with everyday items but appears like it is a living entity whose grasp you want to avoid.

The highlight of the exhibition is the two rooms designed by Kusama – it’s only when you are surrounded by her repeating patterns that you realise what it’s like to be immersed in her hallucinatory and fantastical world, where there is a constant struggle between light and dark. You will leave these rooms hoping that Kusama will design a house one day, and believing that if she did it would be a cross between Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and a haunted house.

The Tate Modern has done an excellent job of charting the career of one of the world’s most eccentric and imaginative living artists whilst showcasing some of her greatest works.

Yayoi Kusama is on at the Tate Modern until 5 June. Admission is £10, concessions available.

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Tabish Khan 2

Article by Tabish Khan | 447 Articles | View Profile

  • me

    a bit disappointed by the exhibition…

  • http://twitter.com/LondonArtCritic Tabish Khan

    Even the two rooms?  They were inspiring!