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Of Pumpkins & Dots At Yayoi Kusama’s Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow Exhibition

Be visually stimulated and enthralled by the engaging artworks of Yayoi Kusama

Photos: National Gallery

In her seventy decades, Yayoi Kusama’s bizarre yet compelling art has spread like wildfire all over the world.

Having exhibited at countless museums which see hour-long queues and collaborated with high fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Yayoi has become a huge purveyor of pop art and the avant-garde.

For the first time ever, the National Gallery will host a collection of over 120 artworks from different stages of Yayoi Kusama’s artistic life from 9 Jun to 3 Sep.

Some of the works are never before seen, whereas others will be making a reappearance.


One of the more recognised artists who bridged the gap between high fashion and pop art, Yayoi struggles to share her world with others.

Having suffered from nervous disorders,  Yayoi uses art as a way to escape from her demons.

As you move through the different stages of her life in the exhibition, you’ll find significant, heart-breaking changes in Yayoi’s style and motifs, and occasionally, in the mediums used as well.

From sculptures to paintings, photos and installations, her artworks draw from themes like surrealism, pop, minimalism and performance art.

Of nets and pumpkins

When Kusama’s Infinity Nets paintings were first exhibited in 1959, it caused a huge sensation in New York.

What looked like dots, were in fact small loops drawn over a plain background, resulting in a rather hypnotizing effect.

The famous series of Bad Girl portraits also encompasses the use of dots and the netted motifs — nets are overlaid on the canvas, casting shadows on the dotted motifs below.

Portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Matahari, which have not been seen in the past three decades, will be exhibited in the gallery.

Yayoi’s intense love for pumpkins came from her childhood, when her grandfather introduced her to the pumpkins in their family’s seed nursery.

The grotesqueness and bulbous shape of the pumpkin somehow exuded an unpretentious charm.

Be transported into the colorful world of pumpkins in exhibit The Spirits Of The Pumpkins Descended Into The Heaven, which features an endless field of her signature yellow-and-black bulbous motifs.

Turning hallucinations into sensory experiences

The Gleaming Lights Of The Souls is where visitors can explore an infinitely repeating, yet endlessly expanding space through the use of lights.

Each visitor enters alone and closes the door for an exhilarating 4D experience.

Stick your head into the exhibit I Want To Love On The Festival Night as far as in you want through the peep box, but be careful not to drop your phone in!

Visitors will have to wait until the end of the day to retrieve anything they drop inside the art installations.

A brighter future

In her latest epic painting series, My Eternal Soul consists over 500 paintings, of which 24 will be featured in the National Gallery.

A must-see is the Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow series, a collection of rich and visually stimulating art pieces.

Another concept that Yayoi is obsessed with is obliteration — invoking the sensations that she experienced during her hallucinations.

The delightful psychedelic colours and whimsical presentation of The Obliteration Room, as part of the Children’s Biennale series, is sure to delight your inner child.

Yayoi Kusama: Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow will run from now 9 Jun to 3 Sep at the National Gallery. Tickets are timed-entry, and start at $10.