Thursday, March 1, 2012


Yayoi Kusama to create work for first Kiev Biennial
The Japanese artist will install a polka-dotted tunnel similar to her earlier pieces from the 1960s

By Anny Shaw. Web only
Published online: 28 February 2012

The Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, who has a major retrospective at Tate Modern in London (until 5 June), is creating a new work for the first Kiev Biennale (24 May-31 July). Kusama is one of 100 contemporary artists to take part in the biennial, along with Paul McCarthy, who will show his irreverent sculptural work, The King, 2006-11.

Kusama’s commission, a tunnel studded with bright pink bulbous forms decorated with black polka dots that viewers will be able to walk through, takes its cue from her earlier work of the 1960s, as well as a 2010 piece, Footprints of Life, which was installed in a roof-top pool of water at the Aichi Triennale. “The installation will be similar to the work Kusama first made in the 1960s as it will include playful floating shapes embedded in the space, but this piece will take a rather different approach,” says David Elliot, the artistic director of the biennial.

McCarthy’s monumental installation of a silicone model of the naked artist takes on particular meanings in the context of Kiev. “The realism of the ruling figure in The King, a nude self-portrait of the artist, is one of Paul McCarthy’s most coruscating but also vulnerable large installations to date,” Elliot says. “It is also a reflection on the arbitrariness and pathos of power: the King wears no clothes, the rows of benches in front of him are empty, his body has been subtly mutilated. Shown in Kiev, this is a work that can dissect the false heroism of a Socialist Realist past as well as depict the vainglorious mess in which we all find ourselves today.”

Both works will be displayed in the 60,000 sq. m Mystetskyi Arsenal, a former military base that is being developed into one of Europe's largest cultural institutions. The arsenal is due to open as a public museum in October 2014.

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