QATAR MUSEUMS OPENS EXHIBITION OF RENOWNED
JAPANESE ARTIST YAYOI KUSAMA ON
THE GROUNDS OF THE MUSEUM
OF ISLAMIC ART AS PART OF QATAR CREATES
Nine Sculptures and Installations by Yayoi Kusama, along with 40 New Public Artworks by Celebrated Local, Regional and International Artists Have Transformed Qatar into an Outdoor Art Museum Experience for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™
Doha, 22 November 2022 — The grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) have been transformed with an expansive outdoor exhibition, My Soul Blooms Forever, showcasing the iconic artworks of celebrated Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. The exhibition, which includes several large-scale artworks that have never been shown in the region, explores the artist’s fascination with the natural world through epic sculptural installations of colourful, fantastically scaled plants and iconic polka-dotted pumpkins sculptures.
My Soul Blooms Forever, on view at MIA Park until 1 March 2023, marks the 10-year anniversary of Qatar’s Years of Culture programme and is a legacy of the Qatar-Japan Year of Culture celebrated in 2012. The artworks have been installed as part of Qatar Creates, the year-round national cultural movement that curates, promotes, and celebrates the diversity of cultural activities in Qatar, during which Qatar Museums has installed more than 40 additional public artworks by celebrated Qatari, regional, and international artists throughout Doha and the nation. The exhibition is presented with the exclusive sponsorship support of Louis Vuitton.
“The grounds of the Museum of Islamic Art have become a favourite outdoor gathering place in Doha, marked by an array of public artworks that range from playful to iconic. With these new installations by Yayoi Kusama — one of the world’s most visionary artists — MIA Park has been magically transformed for the people we are welcoming from around the world for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums.
- My Soul Blooms Forever (2019), comprising five whimsical flowers that measure between six and nine feet high (183 centimetres to 274 centimetres) that are brightly coloured and features the artist’s distinctive bold palette.
- Dancing Pumpkin (2020) represents a new format for the artist with bronze tufts spread more than 16 feet (490 centimetres) from the center, giving the impression of being in motion; this work has not yet been seen in the region
- Narcissus Garden, the artist’s earliest outdoor installation, which was first presented in 1966 on the lawn outside the Italian Pavilion at the 33rd Venice Biennale, comprising 1,300 stainless-steel spheres installed within the fountain at the entrance to the Museum of Islamic Art
- I Want to Fly to the Universe (2020), reminiscent of the artist’s 2019 Love Flies Up to the Sky balloon created for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and derives from motifs elaborated in the artist’s My Eternal Soul paintings; this work has not yet been seen in the region
- Infinity Mirrored Room – Dancing Lights that Flew Up to the Universe (2019) an enclosed, mirror-paneled room with hundreds of LED lights suspended at varying heights from the ceiling that continuously flicker on and off, on view at QM Gallery Al Riwaq
- Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees (2002/2022) installed in MIA Park, lined by dozens of date palms planted on each side of the path that runs along Doha’s Corniche
About Yayoi Kusama
Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Yayoi Kusama’s work has been featured widely in both solo and group presentations. She presented her first solo show in her native Japan in 1952. In the mid-1960s, she established herself in New York as an important avant-garde artist by staging groundbreaking and influential happenings, events, and exhibitions. Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop art and minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures. Her work gained renewed widespread recognition in the late 1980s following a number of international solo exhibitions, including shows at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, both of which took place in 1989. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale, to much critical acclaim. In 1998, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, co-organized Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958–1968, which toured to the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1998-1999), and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999).
More recently, in 2011 to 2012, her work was the subject of a large-scale retrospective that traveled to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. From 2012 through 2015, three major museum solo presentations of the artist’s work simultaneously traveled to major museums throughout Japan, Asia, and Central and South America. In 2015, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, organized a comprehensive overview of Kusama’s practice that traveled to Henie-Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and Helsinki Art Museum. In 2017-2019, a major survey of the artist’s work, Infinity Mirrors, was presented at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Seattle Art Museum; The Broad, Los Angeles; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia. Yayoi Kusama: Life Is the Heart of the Rainbow, which marked the first large-scale exhibition of Kusama’s work presented in Southeast Asia, opened at the National Gallery of Singapore in 2017 and traveled to the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Australia and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta.
A comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work was on view at Gropius Bau, Berlin in 2021, and traveled to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art from November 2021 through May 2022. KUSAMA: Cosmic Nature was on view at The New York Botanical Garden in 2021. Tate Modern, London, is presenting Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms through June 11, 2023. In Montreal, the PHI Foundation for Contemporary Art, is currently presenting Yayoi Kusama: DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE. YAYOI KUSAMA: 1945 to Now,the largest retrospective of the artist’s work in Asia outside Japan is on view at M+ Hong Kong from November 12, 2022 through May 14, 2023.