Yayoi Kusama loves heself. Adores herself, in fact. A documentary, I Adore Myself, screened at Dendy Opera Quays last night and was a fascinating insight into the life and work of the 77-year art veteran (currently exhibiting at MCA Sydney).
According to Kusama, true artists believe that their work is the best, lest they are unable to live. But Kusama’s self-confidence seems to hide a host of insecurities. The artist has battled depression for much of her 77 years, and when listening to her describe how wonderful her art is, you get the sense that ‘adoring herself’ is simply a survival mechanism; if she didn’t believe she was the best then she would be unable to live at all.
Kusama says that when she paints or draws her mind is free from thought, and this is certainly evident from her work, which is obsessively repetitive and mesmerising. If her themes are infinity, repetition and relentlessness, then her ‘logo’ is the dot. Kusama believes that everything in life can be reduced to a single dot. The world is a dot when viewed from space; people are dots when viewed from a plane; ants; pixels; grains of sand; cells. At its purest element, everything in the universe is essentially – and simply – a dot.
Kusama adores herself, that’s for sure. But deep inside she knows that – like everyone and everything else – she is as small and insignificant as a dot.