Please note the additional exhibition history:
London, Serpentine Gallery, Yayoi Kusama, January-March 2000.
Kunstverein Braunschweig, Yayoi Kusama, November 2003-February 2004.
Warsaw, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Yayoi Kusama, April-May 2004
Yayoi Kusama: Works from the Driving Image Show, 1964-1966
Yayoi Kusama has had a significant impact on Post-War art, a fact which is coming into sharper focus with a number of museum exhibitions over the last seven years. Working since the 1950s, her "Happenings" paintings and sculptures are not only compelling and discreet works of art, but are part of an overall conceptual program. She has consistently delved into the larger meanings of life and the universe, albeit with a decidedly surreal and personal Kusamian twist.
Christie's is fortunate to be offering a group of works from one of the artist's seminal exhibitions, the Driving Image Show. Although some of the works from that exhibition have been dispersed, the following four lots form a large and representative grouping. These sculptural pieces include two female mannequins, a table, chairs, shoes, mugs and bottles, show Kusama's ability to infuse visual power and meaning into easily recognizable and mundane objects.
One of her most ambitious and memorable exhibitions, the Driving Image Show was first shown at the Castellane Gallery in 1964 and then was "reprised in different forms, initially at the Galleria d'Arte del Naviglio in Milan in January 1966 and in April at Gallerie Thelen in Essen, West Germany" (L. Hoptman, Yayoi Kusama: Love Forever, 1958-1968, Los Angeles, 1998, p. 47). The exhibition integrated the gallery floor, walls and sculptures as part of seamlessly integrated environment. The walls were painted in bright "infinity net" patterns, and the floor was covered in dry macaroni, creating crackling sounds that added to the work's theatricality. In today's artworld in which installations are commonplace, it is easy to underestimate the radical impact of the exhibition when it was first shown in Essen, Germany to the great surprise and intrigue of the viewers and critics.
"Installations like Driving Image Show recall nothing so much as off-kilter dollhouses for life-size Barbies, stand-in humans subsumed by the patterns that threatened to overtake Kusama as a child. These environments are like blown-up, skewed versions of the domestic tableaux fregquently created by little girls. Customarily made with doll furniture, doll clothes, and makeshift arrangements of toys that stand in for desired objects, these children's constructions are training grounds for adult life" (L. Zelevansky, Ibid, p. 19).
Kusama continues to make compelling paintings and installations, but it is her earliest works from the 1950s and 1960s which are most in demand. They are the first expressions of her mature ideas, that she continues to develop, to the present date. Many of the sculptures from the Driving Image Show, and other hand-painted objects and furniture from this period are in important international museum collections. These sculptures continue to have the power to shock, delight and provoke, almost forty years after their creation.