A Four-Minute Video Retrospective of Yayoi Kusama Paints a Tale of Perseverance

A brief life and times of multimedia artist, Yayoi Kusama.

by Diana Shi
Jun 12 2016, 11:35am

Screencap via

In a video promoting the Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Moderna Museet, the narrator speaks of the artist's hallucinations, depressions, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, all of which have colored her artistic development. Kusama is known for her surreal pop art sensibility in creating thousands of dots in her paintings. As an audience we are enthralled by her simple but manic aesthetic but this video sheds light on some very complex human conditions that have shaped the colorful works Kusama has become iconic for. She says,"Since the dots are so infinitely many, my life has been a constant struggle to create my art."  

While her work has been shown all over the world to wide acclaim, Kusama's creativity and day-to-day life has been dictated by neurosis. The video reveals the artist has been living in a psychiatric clinic since the 70s, and we get a first hand account of the artist's hardships: a tense relationship with her mother, leaving Japan to create work in New York, and returning back to Tokyo after experiencing psychiatric problems. 

In the video interview with the artist for the museum's exhibit titled In Infinity the narrator proclaims, "[she] is an infinite jumble of thoughts and ideas." The video elegantly shows the power of an artist's will to create work as a means of self-reflection, meditation, and self-preservation. 

View more videos by the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art, here. In Infinity  runs through September 11, 2016 in Stockholm. 


Psychaldelic Polka Dots Color Kusama's Latest Show

CGI Short Animates Ai Wei Wei and Kusama Masterpieces

3D Landscapes of Melting Color | Takeshi Murata

short film
Pop Art
Yayoi Kusama