Artist Yayoi Kusama drawing in Kusama – Infinity, directed by Heather Lenz. © Tokyo Lee Productions, Inc. Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

 

Whether you’re an ardent fan or new to Yayoi Kusama’s world, this respectful and gentle portrait by Heather Lenz is a must-have. Considered the world’s top-selling female artist, Kusama | Infinity covers this 89-year old Japanese woman’s intriguing life from her early years in New York, where she bravely infiltrated a pretty complacent and bigoted art world and then her return to provincial Matsumodo where she was born. She now lives in psychiatric hospital in Shinjuko, still making art at a furious pace everyday. It is lovely to submerge yourself in her fantasy world and unlike some artists where you allow yourself the passing thought that you could probably do that, with Kusama you realise her work ethic is relentless and superhuman. Lenz has uncovered some interesting footage from her early days in NY, making it very clear that what looked glamorous and carefree on the surface was a hard slog surviving on crumbs and battling racism and sexism. Lenz doesn’t force her conclusions to Kusama’s mental state on to the viewer; more suggests possible causes, resulting in an engaging insight into Kusama’s life.

Kusama | Infinity is available to buy from Dogwoof from 10th December 2018

Words by Anna Bang

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anna bang, Dogwoof, Heather Lenz, Yayoi Kusama,