Yayoi Kusama, The Clouds, 1984

NARRATOR: In the 1980s, Kusama maintained her dedication to her art—but at first, her studio was in the hospital. She continued to explore the infinite, but she was more spatially confined than she’d been while working in a New York loft. In the day-to-day she worked on a small scale, all the while thinking on a large one. The Clouds consists of one hundred unique hand-sewn objects. Together, they form a fluid sculptural constellation. There are no instructions on how to install it—it’s up to the curator to relate one piece to the next. And there’s no requirement to use all hundred pieces.

Though she continued to live in an open ward in the hospital, Kusama soon began working in a studio that she built nearby. She commutes back and forth, putting in a full eight-or-nine-hour workday in the studio. In the evening, she writes. Since returning to Japan, Kusama has written twenty novels and an autobiography, Infinity Net.