“My art originates from hallucinations only I can see.” – Yayoi Kusama
Louis Vuitton has once again teamed up with renowned artist Yayoi Kusama for a spectacular makeover of its flagship store on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The building, constructed by Georges Vuitton in 1912, has been transformed into a colorful wonderland with Kusama’s signature polka dots adorning the terraces and a giant sculpture of the artist at the entrance. The store features floating metal balloons and colorful orb details that decorate the floor-to-ceiling windows. This collaboration marks the second time Louis Vuitton has worked with Kusama, who is now 93 years old, following their first partnership in 2012. Products from the Yayoi Kusama x Louis Vuitton collection are now available at LV stores worldwide, so don’t miss your chance to see this limited-time store facade in person.
Yayoi Kusama is a world-renowned contemporary Japanese artist known for her use of sculpture and installation to explore themes of feminism, pop art, and surrealism. Born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan in 1929, Kusama began experiencing vivid hallucinations of light flashes and patterns as early as ten years old. These experiences, along with her fascination with smooth white stones that covered the riverbed near her family home, would go on to heavily influence her artwork, particularly her use of polka dots.
In 1958, Kusama moved to New York City to study American Abstract Impressionism and become part of the pop art and counterculture movements. She gained notoriety for her series of “happenings” featuring naked people painted with brightly colored polka dots. She also began creating her series of Mirror/Infinity rooms, which use mirrors to create a feeling of infinity and are considered some of her most iconic works.
Despite her success, Kusama faced challenges as a woman in the art world and struggled with financial stress and plagiarism. She attempted suicide multiple times and eventually returned to Japan in 1973, where she voluntarily checked herself into a hospital for the mentally ill in Tokyo. She still lives there today, working in her studio nearby and exploring her literary career through novels, poetry, and an autobiography. Kusama’s work has been exhibited in museums and institutions around the world, solidifying her status as one of Japan’s most important living artists.
Despite living in a hospital for the mentally ill, Kusama has continued to produce a significant amount of artwork, including her famous Infinity Rooms, which have been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. In 2016, her Infinity Mirrored Room-The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away was on view at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, which went on to become the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history.
Kusama’s art often reflects her experiences with mental illness, and she uses the term “self-obliteration” to describe the feeling of being consumed by her hallucinations. Her use of polka dots, a recurring motif in her work, is also seen as a metaphor for the idea of being lost in a vast universe.
Kusama has received numerous accolades and awards throughout her career, including the Praemium Imperiale, Japan’s highest award for arts and culture, in 1989. In 2018, she became the world’s highest-selling living female artist, with her work selling for over $110 million at auction.
Her work continues to be an inspiration for many artists and her impact on contemporary art is undeniable. Kusama’s work is known for its immersive, experiential nature, and her use of various mediums, from sculpture to painting, installation, and performance, continues to push the boundaries of contemporary art. Kusama’s work is a testament to the power of the human spirit and the ability to create beauty even in the face of adversity.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden: Yayoi Kusama “Pumpkin” (2016)
Self-Portrait, Yayoi Kusama.
George Clooney By Yayoi Kusama for W Magazine