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Is Yayoi Kusama Only About Pumpkins and Polka Dots?

We went to the Guggenheim in Bilbao to find the answers.

Yayoi Kusama, 1945 to Now, 06.27.2023 - 10.08.2023, Exhibition View,

Courtesy of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Yayoi Kusama. 1945 - Now is the title of the retrospective dedicated to the most renowned female artist in the world.

Curated by Doryun Chong and Mika Yoshitake, in collaboration with Lucía Agirre, curator of the Guggenheim Bilbao, the exhibition had previously been presented at the M+ Museum in Hong Kong. The Spanish showcase is therefore the second and final stop of one of the most comprehensive Kusama retrospectives ever: nearly two hundred artworks, some of which have never been exhibited before, synchronously narrate an artistic practice that takes the shape of a philosophy, perceptible and approachable in the encounter with each artwork, each time in a different way. It's not a chronological journey, but a thematic one: Yayoi Kusama's art transcends periodization, nourishing itself with concepts that cyclically return and intertwine throughout all stages of her career. An eternal recurrence that makes Kusama an inevitably complex artist, still not fully understood beyond her clear aesthetic achievements, which have now become part of popular culture.

The exhibition immerses visitors in Yayoi Kusama's obsessive, distinctive language that has evolved and unfolded over the seven decades of her iconic career.

Yayoi Kusama, Pumpkins, 1998–2000, Mixed media, 6 pieces, dimensions variable,

© YAYOI KUSAMA, Collection of the artist

In conclusion, the retrospective exhibition "Yayoi Kusama. 1945 - Now" at the Guggenheim in Bilbao stands as a testament to the profound impact of the world's most renowned female artist. With nearly two hundred artworks, this comprehensive retrospective unveils Kusama's artistic practice as a philosophy that transcends chronology, embracing thematic exploration. Her art, characterized by accumulation, self-portraits, infinity, biocosmic connections, contemplation of mortality, and a frenetic embrace of life's fleeting moments, reflects the intricate and complex nature of Kusama's creative universe. Immersed in the captivating language she has developed over seven decades, visitors are invited to discover the lasting legacy of Yayoi Kusama's artistic brilliance.


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