| Art

Yayoi Kusama: An Explosion of Stickers

Installation views of The obliteration room 2011 as part of ‘ Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’, Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art, 2011

Yayoi Kusama Obliteration

A January Colour explosion of 1000s of stickers

One of my favourite artists, YAYOI KUSAMA, has transformed the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane into a series of domestic-style rooms: “reminiscent of the average Australian home, filled with furniture and objects painted entirely white. This functions as a blank canvas that becomes ‘obliterated’ over the course of the exhibition through the application of brightly coloured dot stickers.”

The Japanese ‘Obsessive artist’ is known for her hallucinogenic installations and interactive spaces. Scroll down to see it evolve….

This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art This is What Happens When You Give Thousands of Stickers to Thousands of Kids stickers kids installation art

Kusama’s website piles in:
As with many of Kusama’s installations, the work is disarmingly simple in its elemental composition; however, it brilliantly exploits the framework of its presentation. The white room is gradually obliterated over the course of the exhibition, the space changing measurably with the passage of time as the dots accumulate as a result of thousands and thousands of collaborators.

Interactivity became an important component of Kusama’s work in the mid to late 1960s, when her solo public performances expanded into participatory happenings. A product of the postwar Avant-garde, which almost immediately crossed over into popular culture, or at least underground counter culture, happenings developed as unconventional performance events increasingly relying on audience reaction and direct participation.

Kusama’s happenings, known as ‘body festivals’ — or ‘orgies’, as they were often sensationally reported in the mainstream press — typically provided platforms for spontaneous and improvisatory behaviour within conceptual and aesthetic frameworks determined by the artist. Often involving public nudity — the artist hoped to contrast the beauty of the youthful human body with the violence of the US–Vietnam War — they challenged prevailing moral frameworks.

Kusama is coming soon (Feb 2012) to the Tate Modern, and she also recently featured in ‘Walking in my mind’ at Hayward Gallery, London:

My artwork is an expression of my life, particularly of my mental disease… My art originates from hallucinations only I can see. I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings.


Nicola Anthony is an artist and art writer living & working in London. She seeks to discover things which make her mind crackle with creative thought. Catch @Nicola_Anthony on twitter, or her artist’s website

Installation views of The obliteration room  2011 as part of ‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’, Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art, 2011 / © Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc. / Photographs: Mark Sherwood

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