In 1939, when Yayoi Kusama was 10, she was confused by much illusion so that she always attempted to conduct suicide. She kept pencil paintings that painted for her mother at that time among which there were a lot of small dots.
Published in 1998, Yayoi Kusama’s work anthology collected her contemporary artistic works from 1958 to 1968. In 1951, her painting work “Hesitating Dream” created when she was young entered the contest of 2nd Japan Creation Award.
In 1954, Yayoi Kusama expressed her feeling in her painting work “Flower (D.S.P.S): Someday I was watching the pattern on the red tablecloth and tried to find whether there was any same pattern around me. From ceiling, windows, walls to every corner of the room, at last to my body and space. In the process of search, I felt that I was obliterated and rotated by infinite time and absolute space feeling. I became negligible and insignificant. Suddenly, I realized it was rather than my imagination, but the condition in reality so that I was shocked by this situation. I was strongly afraid of the red tablecloth and the pattern on it because I considered them as incantation which deprived me of my life and I rushed to stair to escape, however, the stair gradually disappeared under my feet. Therefore, I fell from it and hurt my ankle.
In 1955, she exchanged letters with American female artist Georgia Totto O’Keeffe and delivered her watercolor painting to her. She decided to go to US.
In 1957, she moved to US and spent much time for creation in New York. During that period, she was crowned “Fashion Queen”.
In the 1960s, Yayoi Kusama participated in many anti-war campaigns.
In 1962, she attended the joint exhibition of 7 artists hosted by Green Gallery in New York, which displayed soft sculptures of Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.
In 1965, she exhibited “Infinity Mirror Room” in New York when her distinct characteristic (white bottom and red dots, large mirror, artist standing in the middle) gained much attention.
In 1966, the work “Love Forever” utilized the space installation of small round light bulbs and large mirror for infinite reflection to create the atmosphere of visual illusion, which was her classic work. In the same year, she was invited to attend 33rd Venice Biennale. The name of work was “Narcissus Garden” characterized by the installation of 1500 golden mirror balls (internal plastic cement) put on the outdoor exhibition space of Italian Pavilion. Yayoi Kusama sit in the middle while wearing golden kimono. The sign was stood to inform that one golden ball cost $2. The concept that she underscored in her work that art could be for sale like in the supermarket stimulated much controversy.
In 1968, Yayoi Kusama created short film “Self-Annihilating”(Annihilating Yayoi Kusama) won the 4th Belgium International Short Film Award and silver award of 2nd Japan Union Tree Film Festival.
In 1973, she returned to Japan.
In 1978, she published first novel “Manhattan Hardened Criminal Attempting to Suicide”
In the wake of 1980s
In 1983, new novel “Christopher Male Prostitute Den” won 10th Japan Wild Era Cultural Award
In 1993, Yayoi Kusama represented Japan to attend Venice Biennale.
In 1998, Yayoi Kusama attended Taipei Biennale.
In 2000, Yayoi Kusama attended 2000 Sydney Biennale. The work was “Infinite Mirror Room” in 1965 (the work was duplicated by same material in 1998 because the original one was damaged. The dimension of work was 250 x 500 x 500 cm)
In 2001, Yayoi Kusama won Asahi Prize.
In 2002, Yayoi Kusama published autobiography “Infinite nets”
In 2003, Yayoi Kusama carried out long-term tour reviewing exhibition in Japan and US. Moreover, she was awarded Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des letters by French cultural authority.
She lives in psychological hospital in Tokyo and continues her art creation though she is over 70. Her workshop is not far from psychological hospital. She always say to the media: I would have conducted suicide without the pursuit of art.