Yayoi Kusama’s recent paintings

NARRATOR: This gallery contains works that Kusama has made in the last few years. In this time, she’s both adopted new limits and expanded her range. The limits are in her palette: she begins each painting by covering the entire ground with a single color, often a bold one. She then animates its surface using just a few more colors. The reduced palette means that the pigments radiate against each other, creating bold visual effects: the deliberate limitation becomes a source of power.

At the same time, Kusama broadened her subject matter. There are still dots and nets, but also images drawn from the artist’s early work—flowers, eyes, and hieroglyphic portraits in profile. By coming full circle in these latest works, Kusama makes clear how consistent her ideas and passions have been—even as the appearance of her artworks has changed.

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), I Want to Live Honestly, Like the Eye in the Picture, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 51 5/16 × 63 3/4 in. (130.3 × 162 cm). Collection of the artist. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo; Victoria Miro Gallery, London