Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto City in 1929. Suffering an abusive mother as well as traumatic hallucinations, she began painting the strange visions that tormented her. In 1948, she left home to study at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts, and in 1957 moved to New York to pursue her artistic career, becoming a controversial member of the New York Avant Garde. She created the Infinity Nets paintings and sculptures, a series marked by an obsessive attention to detail and the endlessly repetitive patterns of her childhood nightmares. On returning to Japan in the 1970s she spent time in a mental institution where she wrote a collection of surreal poetry and fiction.
Over seventy years, Kusama has been performance artist, film-maker, painter, sculptor and writer, exploring intense themes of sex, psychology, creation and destruction. From magical mirrored pumpkin patches to the softly sprawling tentacles of gigantic plant sculptures, her fascination with the representation of infinity continues in her work today. She represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 1993, and was awarded Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture, as well as the Praemium Imperiale prize from the Japanese Art Association.
She currently lives and works in Tokyo.