A career-spanning exhibition of work by Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama will open at GOMA in November.

Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) director Chris Saines says Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow will be a weird and wonderful journey through key moments in Kusama’s vast artistic career.

“Now in her late 80s, Yayoi Kusama is one of the most recognisable artists working today,” he says.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with National Gallery Singapore on this vibrant survey of her incredibly productive career.”

The exhibition will explore key motifs that have appeared in Kusama’s work since the early 1950s, and showcase her engagement with the body and her expansive conception of space.

“It includes more than 70 works including early painterly experiments, a multi-decade presentation of the celebrated ‘net’ paintings, soft-sculpture and assemblage, performance documents, iconic ‘infinity rooms’ and large-scale installations from later in her career,” Saines says.

“The exhibition culminates in an immersive presentation of Kusama’s most recent paintings from the visually arresting My Eternal Soul series.

“When Kusama began her epic painting series My Eternal Soul in 2009, she initially intended it to comprise 100 canvases. Still ongoing, the series of works in a riot of bright colours now includes more than 500 paintings, 24 of the very newest of which are featured in the exhibition.”

Yayoi Kusama

Image: Self‐Obliteration by Dots (1968)
Collection of the Artist © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy of YAYOI KUSAMA Inc. Photo by Hal Reiff.

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow also includes two artworks by Kusama commissioned for the Gallery’s 2002 Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art.

Narcissus Garden returns to the QAG Watermall while the Children’s Art Centre at GOMA presents the hugely popular interactive installation, The Obliteration Room, a work that has been displayed at over 21 venues in 15 countries, and viewed by more than five million people.

“Our gallery’s longstanding relationship with Yayoi Kusama and her Tokyo-based studio was established in 1989 when the artist participated in the exhibition Japanese Ways, Western Means at QAG,” Saines says.

Kusama’s practice was later the subject of an in-depth focus in The 4th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT4) in 2002-03, and in 2011-12, a solo exhibition of her new and recent work, Look Now, See Forever was presented at GOMA.

The career-spanning Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow will draw on QAGOMA’s holdings, as well as collections in Japan and South-East Asia.

Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow will be held at GOMA from 4 November 2017 to 11 February 2018.