I first encountered the artist Yayoi Kusama's work at the age of ten, stealthily making my way past the signs warning of "adult content" and material unsuitable for children--all the emblems that naturally attract unsupervised kids wandering in a museum. What was revealed was shocking--hilarious to my ten year old self actually--an armchair covered entirely in stuffed phalli. There were also some videos of naked men running around to Beatles songs, but what I remember most was the chair, which sent me into a fit of giggles (probably why children aren't allowed to view such things). While I've only matured marginally since, it only took me a few more years to appreciate the brilliantly off-kilter, obsessive-compulsive nature of Kusama's work. Kusama is probably best known for covering objects, rooms, giant gourds, and her own body, with thousands of polka-dots, and the graphic and colorful nature of her art has inspired numerous fashion designers.
For Fall 2011, London-based designer David Koma drew inspiration from Kusama's dot paintings, adding them as a recurring decorative motif in his collection. Rather than printing an ordinary polka-dot pattern, the designer laser-cut the dots into the fabric, which he layered over colored fabrics, creating a more three-dimensional effect. Koma also borrowed the artist's vivid pops of color, and even added some dyed fur pom-poms for an over-the-top dotty effect. While the inspiration was somewhat insane (Kusama resided voluntarily in a mental institution for many years), the eye-catching prints and furs are balanced out by controlled and form-fitting silhouettes. The results are tailored and feminine, yet entirely otherworldly.
Yayoi Kusama, Soul under the moon 2002. From 21st Century Blog.
Saturday, May 28, 2011