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Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is known for her color explosions, lights and eccentricity, often with the use of dots. In 2017 she founded her own museum in Tokyo, where visitors can get a glimpse of her wildly colourful paintings, polka-dotted pumpkins and mirror-lined infinity rooms.

For her recent commission for the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, the artist invites guests to cover a domestic interior with faux blossoms. This is known as Flower Obsession (2017). The floral theme taps into the beginning of the artist’s art-making, referencing a memory from her early childhood.

“One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern,” Kusama explains in a press release for the triennial. “I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant my soul was obliterated … This was not an illusion but reality itself.”

The NGV Triennial closed late last week. You can view more documentation from the inaugural exhibition on the National Gallery of Victoria’s website.