Yayoi Kusama: I want tears to flow with the words I gave
David Zwirner Gallery, New York
June 17, 2021 – August 06, 2021
David Zwirner is pleased to present I WANT YOUR TEARS TO FLOW WITH THE WORDS I WROTE, a solo exhibition featuring new My Eternal Soul paintings by Yayoi Kusama, at the gallery’s 537 West 20th Street location in New York. Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo, and Victoria Miro, London, will show concurrent exhibitions with works from this series this summer. Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures.
In the late 2000s, Kusama began her ongoing My Eternal Soul paintings, which feature the signature allover qualities of her Infinity Nets and echo the obsessive, recurring geometries of her decades-long output. Conveying the extraordinary vitality that characterizes Kusama’s oeuvre, each composition is an innovative exploration of form, subject matter, and space, in which abstract and figurative elements combine to offer impressions of both microscopic and macroscopic universes. Initially as large as two meters square, the works have been intimately scaled down in recent years.
These paintings are often installed in tightly spaced grids of varying sizes, and renew familiar motifs and symbols. They encompass a spirited palette of vibrant hues and pulse with dynamic lines and biomorphic shapes that recall eyes and human faces. Both reiterative and singularly expressive, these canvases hum with the disquiet that informs our daily lives as well as theself-reflexive gestures that steady the artist’s hand. Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, and her work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. She presented her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952.
In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Her work gained renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, both of which took place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale, to much critical acclaim.
In 1998, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, co-organized Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958–1968, which toured to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1998-1999), and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999). The first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work is currently on view at Gropius Bau, Berlin, through August 15, 2021. KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature is also currently on view at The New York Botanical Garden through October 31, 2021, and Tate Modern, London, is presenting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms through June 12, 2022.
Yayoi Kusama Museum, a museum dedicated to the artist’s work, opened October 1, 2017, in Tokyo with the inaugural exhibition Creation Is a Solitary Pursuit, Love Is What Brings You Closer to Art. Currently on view through December 26, 2021, is Midway between Mystery and Symbol: Yayoi Kusama’s Monochrome, the museum’s eighth exhibition devoted to her work. Kusama has been represented by David Zwirner since 2013. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition with the artist, titled I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, spanned all three spaces at West 19th Street in New York in 2013. Subsequent solo shows of the artist’s work at David Zwirner, New York, include Give Me Love in 2015; Festival of Life, concurrently presented with Infinity Nets, in 2017; and EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE in 2019.