Look Now See Forever

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Yayoi Kusama is one of the most exciting and prolific artists working today. With a practice encompassing performance, film-making, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, fashion, poetry, fiction and public spectacles (or ‘happenings’) over some 60 years, this leading Japanese practitioner has been widely acknowledged as a major influence on several generations of contemporary artists.

Here on the picture she is round the age of ten. During this age Kusama begins using polka dots and net motifs in her drawings, watercolours, pastels and oils. She later attributes this to a series of hallucinations, the result of a volatile family environment.

I would like to present you ‘Look Now, See Forever’, a major solo exhibition featuring new and recent work by Kusama, at the Gallery of Modern Art from 19 November 2011 to 11 March 2012, builds on the Queensland Art Gallery’s long-term engagement with the artist. Her vibrant, consistently surprising work continues to captivate audiences around the world, and this exhibition – featuring many works presented for the first time in Australia – allows visitors an insight into current strands of Kusama’s highly respected oeuvre. The exhibition is also one of many special programs marking the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA).

Recent works signal new directions for the artist, but continue to explore her long-term fascination with pattern, reflection and infinite space. The Gallery is pleased to present this online interactive publication, which demonstrates this continuity by contextualising Kusama’s new works within her extraordinary practice as it has evolved over six decades. It features expanded commentary on the works in the exhibition, newly commissioned scholarship on aspects of the artist’s practice, and an in-depth timeline of her life and work. To take advantage of the dynamic nature of web-based publishing, new essays will be added during the course of the exhibition, and viewers will be able to track the evolution of The obliteration room 2011, the artist’s specially-commissioned interactive project.

Mounting this exhibition has been an exciting and rewarding project for the Gallery, and it would not have been possible without the enthusiastic involvement of Yayoi Kusama and the generous cooperation of her studio. I therefore extend my sincere thanks to the artist, her assistants, and her representatives at Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo. The project has also benefited greatly from the dedication and commitment of the Gallery’s staff, including Reuben Keehan, Curator, Contemporary Asian Art.

I wholeheartedly encourage Gallery audiences to explore Yayoi Kusama’s love of colour, light and form presented in ‘Look Now, See Forever’, and to immerse themselves in the artist’s unique and compelling world view.

The retrospective ‘Yayoi Kusama’ opens at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, travelling to the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. A three-hour special on the artist is broadcast on Japan’s NHK in August and, in October, the English-language version of Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama is first published by Tate Publishing, London. ‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’ opens at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane in November.


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