Yayoi Kusama
June 1st – September 30th 1993


Y. Kusama, Silver on the earth, 1991

It is the first solo exhibition in Rome of the japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, presented in conjunction with the Japanese Pavillion at the XLV Venice Biennale where she represented Japan, more then ten years after her first appearance in Italy. The exhibition works are: Shoe in silver (1976), Silver on the Earth (1991), Ennui I (1976), Ennui II (1976), Heaven (1993), and the collages Flower and self portrait (1977), Self-portrait (1972), The spirit of a shoe (1975).
Some of her key concepts are recognizable in these works: little dots arranged in different shapes into the wall and the famous silver shoes filled with phallic shapes linked to a psychoanalytical phallic symbology of the feet.
Starting from the golden shoe of Andy Warhol in the 1956 through the Jim Dine's painted writing “shoe” until the Manzoni's shoes glued on his “magic base” in the 1961 the theme of the shoe had a large diffusion in that period. Kusama gives a personal and disturbing interpretation of this theme with a clear involvement with fetishist imagination, as a peculiarity of her plastic work. The “invasions” produced by this symbolically interconnected elements is an exigent way to enlarge the artistic product into the environment-space but also the expression of obsessive instincts invading herself.
Yayoi Kusama moved to New York in 1957 becoming soon a leading character of that extraordinary american art scene. In the 1960s she elaborated new works as Accumulation or Sex Obsession. In 1962 and 1964 she designed her famous “soft environments” and she realized numerous provocative performances, painting dots over the bodies of the performers or making them entering into her works. In 1993, when she was presented to the Roman public in occasion of the exhibition at the Valentina Moncada Gallery, Kusama was already an international art celebrity and she already exposed in numerous important exhibitions in USA and Europe.
In association with the Japanese Institute of Culture in Rome. Catalogue: Yayoi Kusama, Roma 1993 (text by Barbara Bertozzi)