Repetition And Symmetry: Yayoi Kusama’s Unique Artistic Vision

Art often comes from a place of pain. People that have suffered tend to make the best art because they are the ones that most direly need an outlet for their emotions, since when you undergo a great deal of suffering you are often left at a loss regarding how to explain that suffering. The human language tends to be thoroughly insufficient when you want to use it to describe certain things, with suffering being one of them.

An artist that manages to poignantly describe her feelings through art without seeming like she is putting herself up on display is Yayoi Kuyasama. One of the main aspects of her artwork that a lot of people tend to notice is the fact that there is a great deal of repetition. In order to understand the source of this artistic impetus, one must peel back the layers of Kuyasama’s life and see what things were like for her in the days of her youth. Kuyasama was severely abused by her mother as a child, and each day seemed to be an infinite cycle of this very abuse, a repetition as it were. As she grew older she began to see infinite repetition in everything. The daily drudgery of life, the incessant crawl of entropy, the meaninglessness of the universe.

Hence, Kuyasama tries to incorporate this repetition in her art. She always tries to evoke feelings of verisimilitude in her art, which is why she often incorporates people into her art displays, such as her one feature that showed herself and another woman covered in polka dots in order to describe how we hurt one another, how the suffering we inflict is often repetitive, and how over the course of even the longest lives things somehow manage to never change.

Clearly Kuyasama has a pessimistic streak to her, but it is important to realize that the often muted and infinitely subtle nature of her art makes it very palatable as well. It is fair to say that her art is firmly high concept, which means that you need to really delve into it in order to understand what is being said. This allows her art to be truly high quality in spite of the fact that she pours so much of herself into it. Postmodern art is very rarely about real things, it is usually meant to be art for art’s sake. Kuyasama has managed to create a space for herself within the postmodern art community while tackling one of postmodernisms greatest disadvantages: it is too far removed from reality.

According to Kuyasama, every piece of art she creates destroys her a little. A feeling this intense can only come from a truly magnificent work of art, and if you ever get the chance to go see what she has to offer you will realize that this is most certainly true. It is good to know that there are modern artists still pushing boundaries.