Midway Between Mystery and Symbol: Yayoi Kusama's Monochrome


Thursday, April 29, 2021 - Sunday, December 26, 2021

All tickets must be purchased in advance online. Entry is timed and only valid for a specific 90 minute time-slot.
Please purchase tickets in advance from here.

Just as concealment reveals everything, or as the little hole in the peach reveals the existence of the worm, so by a similar method I want to lay bare the mystery. I want to live hidden in the world that lies midway between mystery and symbol.
―Yayoi Kusama, “Ivan the Fool,” 1955

Since ancient times, monochrome has been popular in both the East and the West as ink wash paintings and monochromatic paintings. In the twentieth century, monochrome has been developed in various art movements alongside the progress of abstract expression.
Yayoi Kusama has also produced a number of monochrome works. Starting with the monochrome paintings represented by Infinity Nets – a series that she has continued to produce since its release in 1959, to soft sculptures painted with white, gold, or silver. From mirrored rooms that reflect all kinds of colors despite being monochromatic themselves, to installations that fill spaces with monochromatic flowers, to her latest series of paintings, My Eternal Soul. Kusama continues to work with a palette limited to a single color, or to two colors including the ground color.
In these works, the image and the ground are fluid, covering the surface of the work in an all-over manner, and giving the impression of extending outward from the work itself. Here, monochrome emphasizes the repetition, or unifies the accumulation, and plays a major role in amplifying the intense visuality and sense of drive.
In this exhibition, we present a variety of Kusama's monochrome works from her early years to the present, and introduce her unique world of monochrome, which can be said to be an enantiosis exploration of color in the expression of self-obliteration that she has consistently pursued.

L: Desire of Death 1975-1976

L: Self-portrait 1995
R: FLOWER OBSESSION [detail] 2017/2020
Installation view at YAYOI KUSAMA MUSEUM, Tokyo 2021



Yayoi Kusama Museum is closed from December 27, 2021 to March 2, 2022 to prepare for the upcoming exhibition.

Yayoi Kusama Museum’s measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection

To ensure the safety of all visitors and our employees, Yayoi Kusama Museum takes several measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection. Please read the following instructions before your visit. We appreciate your cooperation to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Considering the situation, further changes might be made. Please check our website for any updates before your visit.

[Our measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection]

  • · All of our employees will have their body temperature checked when they report to work. Museum staff will wear masks (some of the staff will also wear gloves) while they are in the museum. Welcoming staff will wear face shields.
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[When you are in the museum]

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Yayoi Kusama Foundation collaborates with Veuve Clicquot

Yayoi Kusama has designed a limited edition gift box and a limited edition flower sculpture for La Grande Dame 2012 of Veuve Clicquot. Read more