Australia’s largest Yayoi Kusama retrospective to open in Melbourne


Yayoi Kusama © YAYOI KUSAMA Photo by Yusuke Miyazaki. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts.
Yayoi Kusama © YAYOI KUSAMA Photo by Yusuke Miyazaki. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts.
The exhibition will feature more than 180 works, including never-before-seen pieces.

Iconic contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama will be celebrated with a world-premiere blockbuster exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in December.

Spanning her eight-decade practice, Yayoi Kusama will feature more than 180 works, including many never before seen by local audiences and a diverse display of the artist’s showstopping immersive rooms.

The exhibition, which has been curated by the NGV in collaboration with Kusama, will also include the global unveiling of the artist’s most recent immersive infinity mirror room work.

Displayed across the entire ground floor of NGV International, Yayoi Kusama is set to be one of the most comprehensive retrospective exhibitions of the artist’s work ever presented globally and the largest ever mounted in Australia.

The exhibition will trace her entire career – from her childhood in the 1930s through to the present day – through a rich selection of works drawn from the artist’s personal collection and premier institutions across Japan and Australia.

Featuring painting, sculpture, collage, fashion, video and installation, the exhibition will reveal the astonishing breadth of Kusama’s multidisciplinary practice.

“There are few artists working today with the global presence of Yayoi Kusama,” NGV director Tony Ellwood AM says.

“This world-premiere NGV-exclusive exhibition allows local audiences and visitors alike the chance to experience Kusama’s practice in deeper and more profound ways than ever before.

“We are indebted to Yayoi Kusama for her passion and collaboration on this special project. Without the artist’s personal dedication to this exhibition – and excitement to share her worldview with Australian audiences – none of this would be possible.”

Installation view of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial from 15 December 2017 – 15 April 2018 at NGV International Melbourne. Image courtesy of NGV.

Highlights of the exhibition include:

  • An impressive assembly of Kusama’s iconic immersive installations, including her infinity rooms that ingeniously use mirrors to create the visual illusion of infinite space.
  • A new, never-before-seen kaleidoscopic infinity mirror room, currently in development especially for the exhibition.
  • The Australian debut of Dancing Pumpkin, a towering 5-metre-tall bronze sculpture newly acquired by the NGV.
  • The Australian premiere of THE HOPE OF THE POLKA DOTS BURIED IN INFINITY WILL ETERNALLY COVER THE UNIVERSE, 2019, which visually entangles viewers within 6 metre-high tentacular forms covered in yellow-and-black polka dots.
  • The presentation of Narcissus Garden, a new iteration of the installation Kusama first presented unofficially at the Venice Biennale in 1966. This installation comprises more than 1400 stainless silver balls, each 30cm in diameter and presented en masse as visitors enter the Gallery.
  • NGV International’s public spaces being transformed by Kusama’s signature polka-dots, extending the sensory experience of Kusama’s work beyond the exhibition galleries to include a site-specific artwork for the NGV’s iconic Waterwall and an installation of enormous balloons that will float playfully over visitors’ heads in NGV International’s Great Hall, titled Dots Obsession.
  • Rarely seen materials drawn from the artist’s own archive, including photographs, film, letters, magazines, posters and other ephemera, emphasising Kusama’s radical performance art, fashion designs and activism of the late-1960s.

Yayoi Kusama will be on display from 15 December 2024 to 21 April 2025 at NGV International, St Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Entry fees apply. For first access to tickets, sign up to the NGV eNews here: NGV.MELBOURNE.

General sale tickets will be available from Monday 22 April via the NGV website.

The exhibition opening will coincide with the NGV Gala, an annual event, on Saturday 14 December 2024.

NGV Gala information is available here.

About Yayoi Kusama

Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama is one of the world’s most important and recognised practitioners working today. She is renowned globally for her singular and idiosyncratic use of pattern, colour and symbols to create immersive, thought-provoking and intensely personal works of art that transcend language and borders. She has made indelible contributions to key art movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including minimalism, pop art and feminist art.


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