“I believe that eyes are very important motifs. That’s something that can discern the peace and love.”
After living in Tokyo and France, Kusama left Japan at the age of 27 for the United States. She has stated that she began to consider Japanese society “too small, too servile, too feudalistic, and too scornful of women. In the early 1960s, Kusama began to cover items such as ladders, shoes, and chairs with white phallic protrusions. Despite the micromanaged intricacy of the drawings, she turned them out fast and in bulk, establishing a rhythm of productivity which she still maintains. She established other habits too, like having herself routinely photographed with new work and regularly appearing in public wearing her signature bobbed anime wigs and colorful, avant-garde fashions.


“ More and more, I think about the role of the arts, and as an artist, I think that it’s important that I share the love and peace.”

Kusama suffered emotional trauma in her childhood, which resulted in hallucinations and mental instability. From a young age, painting served as a salvation for the artist and a means of escape from the toil of reality. “A Dream I Dreamed” transforms the space into an imaginary playground of polka dots, mirrors, and colors. It is a visually arresting roundup of works from Kusama’s vast oeuvre that harnesses the phantasmagoric world of an artist whose imagination captures the hearts of so many.


“ A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become a movement … Polka dots are a way to infinity.
Since 1963, Kusama has continued her series of Mirror/Infinity rooms. In these complex infinity mirror installations, purpose-built rooms lined with mirrored glass contain scores of neon-colored balls, hanging at various heights above the viewer. Standing inside on a small platform, an observer sees light repeatedly reflected off the mirrored surfaces to create the illusion of a never-ending space. During the following years, Kusama was enormously productive, and by 1966 she was experimenting with room-size, freestanding installations that incorporated mirrors, lights, and piped-in music. She counted Judd and Joseph Cornell among her friends and supporters.


“ I put polka dots all over my body and then cover my background completely with polka dots. The polka dots on my body, merging with those in the background, create an optically strange scene.

Dots Obsession visually approximates the hallucinations Kusama reportedly suffered as a child, in which the entirety of her surrounding space was covered with repeating patterns. The installation also reveals the artist’s careful attention to the construction of space through color and form and to the play of light and perspective accomplished by repeating a few simple devices — creating an immersive experience from red paint, white dots, giant balloons and strategically placed mirrors.

“ I obliterate a cat by putting polka dot stickers on it. I obliterate a horse by putting polka dot stickers on it. And I obliterated myself by putting the same polka dot stickers on myself.

When Kusama was ten years old, she began to experience hallucinations which she has described as “flashes of light or dense fields of dots” These hallucinations also included flowers that spoke to Kusama. Patterns in fabric that she stared at coming to life, multiplying, and engulfing or expunging her, a process which she has carried into her artistic career and which she calls “self-obliteration”.She was reportedly fascinated by the smooth white stones covering the bed of the river near her family home, which she cites as another of the seminal influences behind her lasting fixation on dots.