Polka dot summer: The NGV announces Australia’s largest Yayoi Kusama retrospective exhibition

The National Gallery of Victoria has announced their summer blockbuster exhibition for the 2024–2025 season: an ambitious retrospective of contemporary art icon Yayoi Kusama.

Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama’s career has been long and varied, spanning eight decades and multiple stylistic iterations. She is known for her immersive installations, infinity rooms, pumpkin sculptures, and commitment to the polka dot. She has made significant contributions to various artistic movements, including minimalism, pop art, and feminist art.

Yayoi Kusama has been curated by the NGV in collaboration with Kusama and is one of the most comprehensive retrospective exhibitions of the artist’s work ever presented globally. The show features over 180 works, many never seen before, including her most recent immersive infinity mirror room. Audiences can expect painting, sculpture, collage, fashion, video and installation, spanning work from her childhood to today.

Yayoi Kusama The obliteration room 2002–present. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art © YAYOI KUSAMA. Photo: N Harth, QAGOMA

Highlights will include Dancing Pumpkin, a towering 5-metre-tall bronze sculpture newly acquired by the NGV, the Australian premiere of the installation THE HOPE OF THE POLKA DOTS BURIED IN INFINITY WILL ETERNALLY COVER THE UNIVERSE, balloon installation Dots Obsession, and Narcissus Garden—a new iteration of the artist’s 1966 Venice Biennale installation.

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

Yayoi Kusama
National Gallery of Victoria
15 December 2024—21 April 2025

News Words by Art Guide Australia