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Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
YAYOI KUSAMA(Japanese, B. 1929)

Hi, Konnichiwa (Hello)! Nao-chan

YAYOI KUSAMA(Japanese, B. 1929)
Hi, Konnichiwa (Hello)! Nao-chan
styrofoam, metal, painted sculpture
girl: 118 x 36 x 235 cm. (46 1/2 x 14 1/4 x 92 1/2 in.)
purse: 35 x 15 x 51 cm. (13 3/4 x 5 7/8 x 20 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2004
Mori Art Museum, KUSAMATRIX, Tokyo, Japan, 2004 (illustrated, pp. 50-61).
The National Museum of Modern Art, Yayoi Kusama, Tokyo, Japan, year (illustrated, p. 223).
Frances Morris (ed.), Tate Publishing, Yayoi Kusama, London, England, 2012 (illustrated, p. 15).

Tokyo, Japan, Mori Art Museum, KUSAMATRIX Touring Exhibition, 7 February - 9 May 2004.
Sapporo, Japan, Museum of Contemporary Art, KUSAMATRIX Touring Exhibition, 5 June - 22 August 2004.
Kumamoto, Japan, Contemporary Art Museum, Yayoi Kusama Touring Exhibition, 29 April - 3 July year.

Brought to you by

Eric Chang
Eric Chang

Lot Essay

Yayoi Kusama is one of the most exciting and prolific artists working today. Her oeuvre is vast ranging from performance, film-making, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, fashion, poetry, fiction and public spectacles over some 60 years. This leading Japanese practitioner has been widely acknowledged as a major influence on several generations of contemporary artists.
The work featured in this auction Hi, Konnichiwa (Hello)! Nao-chan (Lot 33) is a unique sculpture that was first presented in the touring solo-exhibition "KUSAMATRIX" in 2004 starting at the Mori Art Museum. The exhibition would attract over half a million visitors during its 3 month run.

Beginning in the early 2000s, Kusama started to produce many drawings on the motif of young girls, a reflection of her and her childhood memories. These drawings would be featured in the room as a whole installation alongside large-scaled sculptures of girls. The three-dimensional image of the carefree innocent girl seemed to reflect Kusama's early childhood portrayed here with soft and warm feeling of her "dream" for an ideal world. The girl, Hi, Konnichiwa (Hello)! Nao-chan, stands out among others as she carries a purse, ready to go out in to the world. In this work, Kusama creates a rich visual sensation with contrasting colors of yellow and black, white and blue, red and green on a gleaming varnished surface that produce an almost hallucinatory quality. The result of this play of psychedelic colors and the myriad of polka dots give a light and playful, yet mesmerizing rhythmic pattern. In it we find a liberating outlet for Kusama's psychological hardship as she generously shares a glimpse of her world with us.

Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, into a wealthy but very conservative family. Her career began with images that were influenced by hallucinatory experiences she had as a child. At the age of 10, flowers and animals would already talk to her. She came to have hallucinations that everything around her was covered in polka dots, which surrounded and threatened to obliterate her physical and emotional sense of self. Kusama drew these visions desperately - as a self-therapy designed to control the illness.

In 1958, Kusama moved from Tokyo to New York where she became acquainted with Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman and would become an integral part of the New York avant-garde. Kusama's main themes in her New York years were repetition and multiplication. Her works were distinguished by the multiplication of the same patterns and designs: polka dots, Infinity Nets, soft sculptures of protruding objects, and mirror rooms. In 1973 she returned to Japan, where she was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and hospitalized. She would write several novels, and continued to make art.

Since the turn of the century, Kusama's works have been revisited and recognized worldwide starting with a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1999. A number of exhibitions were held in Japan during the first years of the century, including Shizuoka, Yokohama and at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. Entering the next decade in 2010, Kusama exhibitions have been held throughout the world: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sof?a in Spain then at the Pompidou Center in Paris in 2011, at the Tate Modern in London and the Whitney Museum in New York in 2012. She has continued to take an avant-garde approach to both art and life, always staying on the cutting edge, and this has brought her the enthusiastic support of a wide audience, particularly among the younger generation.

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