The Jardins des Tuileries in Paris has been enlivened by Yayoi Kusama's vibrantly colored Flowers That Bloom at Midnight, a series of unique largescale sculptures. This is the first time that these sculptures are seen in France. The presentation by the Musée du Louvre
-which coincides with Kusama's major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou-is consistent with the museum's ongoing initiative to integrate contemporary art into its broader historical and cultural programme. This special project has been realized with the support of Gagosian Gallery.
The first known photograph of Kusama as a small child is an arresting image: her beautiful face with its grave expression appears above a cluster of gigantic dahlias, each bloom larger than her small head. In a watercolor of 1950 entitled Self Portrait, the sunflower is an anthropomorphic stand-in for the artist herself. Flowers have continued to populate Kusama's imaginary since the beginning of her career, and it is evident that the gay yet monstrous flower sculptures of today have their origins in the surrealistic specimens that pervade the landscapes of her early paintings.
With her unrivalled eye for color, pattern and sinuous baroque form, Yayoi Kusama developed Flowers That Bloom at Midnight-an exuberant series of fifteen unique sculptures cast in fiberglas-reinforced plastic and painted by hand-following major permanent sculptural commissions for public institutions that include The Visionary Flowers (2002), Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Nagano, Japan; Tulipes de Shangri-La (2003), Eurolille, Lille, France; and The Hymn of Life: Tulips (2007), Beverly Hills City Council, Los Angeles.
Visitors to the Tuileries will find the brightly colored triffid-like flowers on the Grand Allee of the Jardins des Tuileries, installed on a grassed sculpture sitebordered by the symmetrically trimmed chestnut trees that are a main feature of Le Notre's original design. Flowers that Bloom at Midnight will remain on view until the spring.
Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Japan in 1929. She lives and works in Tokyo. Her work is collected by leading museums throughout the world including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; LACMA, Los Angeles; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Tate Modern, London; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Major exhibitions of her work include Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Fukuoka, Japan (1987); Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York (1989); "Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama,1958-1969," LACMA, 1998 (traveling to Museum of Modern Art, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo), 1998-99; Le Consortium, Dijon, 2000 (traveling to selected venues in Europe, Korea and Japan), 2001-2003; "KUSAMATRIX," Mori Museum of Art, Tokyo, 2004 (traveling to Art Park Museum of Contemporary Art, Sapporo Art Park, Hokkaido); "Eternity-Modernity", National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (touring Japan), 2004-2005; "The Mirrored Years," Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 2008, (traveling to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and the City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand through 2009); "I Want to Live Forever," PAC Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2009).
"Look Now, See Forever"opened at the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia earlier this month. A major traveling retrospective, initiated by Tate Modern, is currently on view at Centre Pompidou, Paris. It will travel to Tate Modern, London and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2012. moment au Centre Pompidou à Paris. Elle va voyager à la Tate Modern à Londres et au Whitney Museum of American Art à New York en 2012.