See Inside Yayoi Kusama’s Blockbuster New Exhibition

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Yayoi Kusama: EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, David Zwirner
Installation view, Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love, David Zwirner, New York, 2019© YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro and David Zwirner

Just opened in New York, Yayoi Kusama’s new exhibition, Every Day I Pray for Love, features new paintings, sculptures, installations (and a pumpkin) by the prolific Japanese artist

Japanese queen of contemporary art Yayoi Kusama has opened an exhibition of new work in New York this week. At David Zwirner’s Chelsea gallery, Every Day I Pray for Love features new paintings, sculptures and an iteration of Kusama’s seminal, much-Instagrammed Infinity Mirrored Rooms titled Dancing Lights that Flew Up to the Universe (anticipating 100,000 visitors over the course of the exhibition, the gallery is allowing one minute per person in the mesmerising mirror-filled space and updating its social media channels with queue times).

Kusama, who turned 90 in March, is known the world over for her singular aesthetic: pumpkins, dots (she has been transfixed by polka dots since she was a child in Japan, and has been known to cover all manner of objects – and people – in them for her work), light installations and vibrant swirling shapes appear frequently in her work. In Every Day I Pray for Love, these archetypes of her work are seen in paintings from the ongoing series My Eternal Soul, spiked and spotted sculptures, viscous-looking stainless steel floor installations, and the flickering lights suspended in endless darkness in Dancing Lights that Flew Up to the Universe.

Kusama uses such techniques and motifs to interrogate life and existence through her highly personal art. “Awe for life and death. That is my philosophy,” she told AnOther in 2013. “Since I was a young girl I wanted to make art. My hope in art is to spread the joy and the love of being human. I think a lot about what it means to be an artist in the world today. It is a time of much turmoil and strife. And yet, we can see light all around us... My wish is for everyone to experience the love and joy that is around us.”

Having exhibited all over the world in her decades-long career, Kusama lived and worked in New York during the 1960s, when she was developing her experimental, avant-garde practice. Since 1977, Kusama has famously lived in a mental health hospital in Japan, where she writes poetry and fiction – new poems are published in Every Day I Pray for Love’s catalogue – and creates art in a studio nearby. As one of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most prolific artists, Kusama’s exhibitions have historically been blockbuster successes, with people waiting hours to experience her unique Infinity Mirrored Rooms – and Every Day I Pray for Love looks to be no exception.

Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray for Love is at David Zwirner, New York, until December 14, 2019.