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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Yayoi Kusama – Obsessed with Polka Dots | Tate

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Making art was something that she seems to have done in opposition to her family

but she also was innately talented.

You look at the early drawings and they are completely exquisite.

The challenges to become an accomplished artist in a Japanese provincial milieu

must have driven this notion that, at some point, she would have to escape.

She was on a train to stardom, she knew exactly what she wanted to do.

She had a suitcase full of drawings

and she set about selling herself.

When she first came to New York, it was a man's world. The art world was aggressively male.

It was a cut-throat period

I think it was very difficult to be a woman artist.

She was taking away your ability to focus

breaking all boundaries of space

and the exhibitions that I had, in particular

the 'Peepshow' that did the job.

It was an octagonal room, it was painted black

and there were openings where you could stick your head in.

The ceiling of it set up a series of lights.

The rhythm of that machine was, brrrrr, faster and faster.

Up till Kusama, there were many artists from the Renaissance on, who were involved

with perspective and infinity

but it was all a fake

because you knew, you were the viewer

you were always aware that you were the master.

That it was a painting that was encompassed by a frame

and the artist was playing with space

but it wasnt enveloping you.

To go back to Tokyo and to start from scratch again

for Kusama was quite extraordinary

because she wasnt known there and she hadn't been recognised.

Clearly, the strains and stresses of life, the memories, forced her to withdraw.

But what she's always done, she has always managed that process incredibly well.

Kusama is now living in a mental institution

but, by day, she occupies across the street in a busy suburban neighbourhood of Tokyo

a very well-appointed studio facility

where she has a team of assistants.

She has a space for painting, she has a space for a library, her archive

and every morning she gets there and she's the consummate professional

and she works from nine till six.

I think there's a sort of managing madness about Kusama, which is so utterly sane

which is really interesting.

She's used her trauma, she's used these experiences in her past

she's been able to harness experiences

that might drive other people insane to enormously productive ends.

She's an extraordinary person in that way.

The Description of Yayoi Kusama – Obsessed with Polka Dots | Tate