TOKYO – The first museum dedicated exclusively to contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama was inaugurated in Tokyo on Tuesday, with a selection of unreleased exhibits by the artist who at 88 continues to nurture her unique psychedelic aesthetic.
Conceived by the Yayoi Kusama foundation through Kusama’s own initiative, the museum has been designed to promote and preserve her works, offering a complete immersion in colorful and constantly changing forms created by one of the highest-selling contemporary artists in the world.
The Yayoi Kusama museum is located in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, close to Kusama’s studio and the psychiatric facility where she lives, and was specially designed to highlight her works, director Akira Akehata said during the inaugural ceremony.
Akehata said that even though Kusama’s works have been displayed in many of the biggest museums and biennials of the world, he believed that a personal and original museum based on the artist’s own concept provided a unique opportunity to understand her artistic trajectory.
In a video message played at the inauguration, Kusama said that the museum was a long-standing dream of hers which was now being realized.
The museum, a slim five-floor building with an area of 731 square meters (7,868 square feet), looks like different geometric shapes neatly stacked on each other and was made in the metabolist architectural style by the Japanese studio Kume Sekkei.
The central part of the inaugural exhibition is dedicated to “My Eternal Soul,” Kusama’s latest ambitious series on big canvas which she began in 2009 and continues to work on at a speed of a painting every one or two days.
The museum features 16 unreleased paintings of the series in which Kusama touches abstract and figurative themes in explosive colors.
The museum is to regularly exhibit new artworks of the series, which already includes more than 500 paintings, said the director, adding that “My Eternal Soul” was the culmination of Kusama’s career and shows her in her second youth.
Another key attraction is a new version of her popular “Infinity Mirror Room,” a hypnotic visual display where Kusama’s iconic dotted pumpkins appear, disappear and re-appear infinitely in a dark room.
Kusama was born in the city of Matsumoto, in the Nagano prefecture of central Japan, and immigrated to New York in late 1950s, going on to make a name for herself among the avant-garde artists.
She returned to Tokyo in 1973 due to a deterioration in her mental illness that she has lived with since childhood.
Since then, she has voluntarily lived at a psychiatric center and made paintings, sculptures and installations that she defines as “art-medicine,” receiving national and international acclaim for them.
The Yayoi Kusama museum is scheduled to open its doors to the public on Oct. 1, with a limit of 50 entries every 90 minutes.