"I am making art to spread the joy and the love.” Yayoi Kusama states her philosophy for life and art
“Awe for life and death. That is my philosophy. We are all going through the passage of life. And life is hard; there can be many sufferings and much pain. I have had many difficult times in my life. I have thought to commit suicide, and I have tried. But now as I am approaching the end of my life, I feel I can walk up the stairs to heaven and I can look down and feel happy about what I have experienced and done here as a human.
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. I am often thinking, what does it mean to be human? My eyes, hands, feet, mouth, legs… all of these parts of my body are evidence of my existence as a human being. The eyes in particular are very important because they can discern peace and love, and therefore they can lead us to doors to experience these things. My wish is for everyone to experience the love and joy that is around us. So please, when you go out, please say this. I would be very grateful. Please say that I am making art for this reason, to spread the joy and the love.”
"Now as I am approaching the end of my life, I feel I can walk up the stairs to heaven and I can look down and feel happy about what I have experienced and done here as a human" — Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama is known by most people as that strange woman who paints polka-dots everywhere. She’s also regarded by many as the most important female artist — not just in the world today, but in history. Using the word ‘female’ as a modifier might make sense in the scope of history, but in the scope of the last century it hardly does. Depending on who you talk to, she is up there with Warhol and Picasso. In any case, the polka-dot queen, as she has been referred to at times, came to New York in advance of her massive new show, I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, which opens today at David Zwirner's Chelsea space. Here she speaks about the experiences and wisdom that has informed her latest show.
I Who Have Arrived in Heaven is at David Zwirner until December 21.
Text by Derek Peck