I have long enjoyed seeing the work of Yayoi Kusama and today I got a double shot. We went and saw the documentary about her life and work ‘Kusama-Infinity’ and then drove over to the National Gallery of Australia to see her installation work ‘The Spirits of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens.
The movie spends some time looking at her early work in America. This was what I found most interesting. Her early work really ‘stands up’, over time. It’s a lot tougher than the brightly coloured work we tend to associate with her today. I also got a better understanding of the misogyny and rip-offs she faced (and other female artists too) during that time. Her resilience is even more remarkable than I had realised.
Back at the National Gallery of Australia we met up with friends and had a look at one of her signature installations. I learned from the documentary that these were originally referred to as “peep shows”, which reflects the tougher work she was making in her younger days.