Chine colle

Chine-collé roughly translates from French chine = tissue, and collé, meaning glued or pasted. It is a special technique in printmaking, in which the image is transferred to a surface that is bonded to a heavier support in the printing process.

One purpose is to allow the printmaker to print on a much more delicate surface, such as Japanese paper or linen, which pulls finer details off the plate. Another purpose is to provide a background colour behind the image that is different from the surrounding backing sheet.

The final image will depend on the design and ink colour of the printed image, the colour and opacity of the paper to which the image is directly printed (plus any inclusions such as petals or fibres in that paper), and the colour of the backing sheet.

History

The word chine is used because the thin paper traditionally used in the process was unsized and made from bamboo paper imported to Europe from China, India and/or Japan. As these papers were generally slightly different in colour they provided a subtle background to the printed image. This was particularly appreciated in  mid-nineteenth century lithography and intaglio printing. In the twentieth century etchings by Picasso and Matisse used this effect.

Materials

Checklist

  • clean printing, inking and drying areas
  • prepared printing paper ready (soaked if you are using it damp)
  • tissue or other colle papers cut to shape or torn
  • glue or paste and pasting brush
  • paper grips or tweezers
  • scissors/cutting implements and cutting mat

Paper

Traditionally done with fine paper made from eg gampi fibre. Also any acid-free and colour-fast tissue paper or silk fabric or fine handmade papers. Today as the finer bamboo papers are rare, coloured Japanese papers are usually used.

Any material can be used as long as the ink chosen will adhere to it:  newspaper, metal leaf, dried leaves, textured materials, ephemera, dress patterns, and book pages as the sheet to be printed on.

Some artists have moved away from precise trimming of a single sheet of paper to the size of the printing plate when using this method. For example, some experiment with pre-cut shapes for a collage effect, or simultaneously adhere multiple overlapping pieces of paper under the printed image.

Ink

Use oil-based printing ink to reduce effects of colours running and it will not interfere with the glue so much. With water-based ink use rubber solution glue.

Glue

Only a thin layer is needed but this needs to be evenly spread all over with a pasting brush to prevent it lifting off.

– PVA diluted with a little water is an option for metal leaf and some thin papers or gel medium. But these are too strong for very delicate papers.

– rubber-solution glue with water-based inks

– spray glue and photomount glues can be used for test prints but can discolour with age

– cornflower and water glue can be used for very delicate pieces (put 1 tsp cornflower and a little warm water and stir to paste without lumps, then add water to make 50ml and gently heat for 2 minutes. Need to use it warm)

– some artists are reported to use a dusting of flour right before pressing rather than paste. Some have tried using no adhesive at all, simply relying on the high pressure of the printing press and properties of the paper (fibers, sizing) to fuse the papers together similar to paper-making; however, this method may be variable and unreliable.

– DON’T USE: contact adhesives or epoxy resins

In traditional paste-making for Chine-collé, wheat or rice starch is separated from gluten and other things in wheat or rice flour. Pure starch is then cooked with distilled water to form a congealed gel. Finally the gel is passed through a fine sieve such as a piece of silk to form the paste. Starch-based pastes are considered archival and are sometimes used in other paper-based applications, such as book binding, book repair and collage.

Methods

There is no single recommended procedure – it depends on the materials to be used. But you need to work fairly quickly before the glue or paste dries so you need to have all the necessary materials ready before you start.

Generic Process

1) Make the background print

2) Prepare the printing block and put it face up

3) If precise printing is required, prepare a proof through printing onto the chine colle to be cut and cut it

4) Apply the glue to the chine colle material. In order to avoid tearing, creases or bubbles, use minimal adhesive and consider the dampness and temperature of the surrounding environment.

5) Put the chine colle between the paper and the block, glue side to the paper

6) Register and put the paper on top and print

a) direct print placing chine colle on plate then pasting – particularly useful when the whole plate or a large portion of it is to be covered.  The plate is inked, the thin paper (dampened) is placed on the inked plate and trimmed to size, paste is applied to the thin paper, and the ensemble (plate plus thin paper with paste) is placed on a dampened backing sheet. This is then run through a printing press. In the pressure of the press, the ink is transferred to the thin paper, and the thinner paper is simultaneously adhered to the backing paper.

  • advantage: the thin paper will be exactly the desired size, since it is trimmed to size and then quickly affixed in place.

b)  direct print pasting the chine colle then putting on plate: particularly useful if many small pieces of chine colle are to be used. The rice paper is already cut to size before preparing the plate to print. The heavier print paper has been put in the bath and dampened according to the printmaker’s preference, then set aside. If the rice paper was painted on, it has been dried and is also set aside, ready. The plate is inked and wiped then placed on the press face up. Thin paste is brushed on the back of the rice paper and it is placed face down on the plate and registered. The paste is put on just enough to coat but not saturate, which dampens the rice paper appropriately. If one tries to brush paste on a damp piece of rice paper, it will rip. The print paper is then placed on top of the pasted side of the rice paper, a sheet of newsprint added on top of the stack and the felts then covering the stack. It is then run through the press.

  • advantage:this process is less tricky to manoeuvre than the first method, is cleaner, and more accurate in registration.

c) pre-pasted: the thin paper (dry) is trimmed to the size of the plate, then paste is applied and allowed to dry. When the printmaker is ready to print, the paper is dampened to activate the paste and placed, paste-side up, on an inked plate. Then the ensemble (plate plus thin paper with paste) is placed on a dampened backing sheet and run through a press as described above.

  • advantage once dried, the paste-applied papers can be stored indefinitely, just like a lick-and-stick postage stamp.
  • disadvantage because the paper is trimmed dry, the artist must take into account how much in each direction the paper will expand when it is dampened prior to printing.

Njideka Akunyili

website: http://njidekaakunyili.com

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Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s complex, multi-layered works reflect contemporary transcultural identity drawn from the artist’s memories and experiences.  Her large-scale figurative compositions combine drawing, painting and collage on paper.  She uses the visual language and inherited traditions of classical academic western painting, particularly the portrait and still life but combines these with collage of colours and textures that give them an African identity.

She portrays images of family and friends, in scenarios with details derived from everyday domestic experiences in Nigeria and America. These include recollections from the formative years of her upbringing, as well as more recent relationships and experiences. Her work often features an element of self-portrait, as in a series of intimate scenes of the artist with her husband made in the early years of their marriage. Her collaged paintings present a compelling visual metaphor for the layers of personal memory and cultural history that inform and heighten the experience of the present.

Biography

Akunyili Crosby was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1983 and lived there lived until the age of sixteen. In 1999 she moved to Los Angeles, where she has remained since that time. Her cultural identity combines strong attachments to the country of her birth and to her adopted home, a hybrid identity that is reflected in her work.

Technique

She complements and enhances her paintings by carefully chosen and integrated collage elements, predominantly acetone-transfer prints of small photographic images. Some of these images are from the artist’s archive of personal snapshots, magazines and advertisements, while others are sourced from the internet; they feature images with a thematic resonance to each particular work.

Source Victoria Miro website

Inspiration for my own practice

It would be interesting to try chine colle for more figurative work like this – using ready printed African textured papers under linocut would work well. Though it would require a lot of preparation and planning to get the collages elements properly in place.

 

Sue Lowe

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website: http://www.somersetprintmakers.co.uk/Sue_Lowe.html

Sue’s work draws on the landscape of west Somerset. Her imagery sits on the borderline between landscape and abstract. The work is concerned with textures and surfaces and draws inspiration from the lines and patterns found in the landscape that tell stories of formation, growth, erosion and decay. Sue has developed a range of collagraph techniques that allow her to use found organic and recycled materials to create richly-textured prints. She also makes extensive use of chine colle.

Many of her images are layered in horizontal strips and represent the seasons and landscape elements. They have a unity of colour and delicacy that I like.

Sue received a fine art degree in 2004 from the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham. Since graduating she has combined development of a printmaking practice with teaching in adult education and a career in arts administration. Sue exhibited regularly in galleries and art fairs in London and the South East before moving to Somerset, (where she was born and grew up), in Spring 2011.

Mark Graver

website: http://www.markgraver.com

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In a Landscape: etching carborundum and chine colle

Mark Graver is an award winning New Zealand based artist/printmaker specialising in Acrylic Resist Etching and Video Art.

Born in St.Albans, UK in 1964, he moved to New Zealand in 2003.  He established the Wharepuke Print Studio in Kerikeri in 2005, New Zealand’s only dedicated acrylic resist etching studio, and in 2009 with partner Tania Booth, set up Art at Wharepuke a gallery specialising in international printmaking.

He is a tutor at Kerikeri NorthTec on the BAA Visual Arts degree course.

His current practice involves working with printmaking, digital video and sound with interest concentrated at the point where these approaches meet and cross – the editonable act/event/encounter of pulling a print or screening a film, the re-presenting of this act/event/encounter and its relationship with time and memory.

He is author of the printmaking handbook ‘Non-Toxic Printmaking’2011, London, A&C Black.

Helen Brown

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“I work directly from the landscape in either lino or woodcut. Working outdoors enables me to capture the line and fluidity of scenes and localities.

My landscapes are landscapes of self-possession and movement. Through their layered and textured forms they express the tectonic flow of the earth, as mountains and valleys rise and fall in an experience of time much more immense than our own.

I spend time in the places my work depicts, returning to them. From the Sussex Downs to the foothills of the Himalayas, my prints are imbued with the emotion of place. Each one of my pieces is given individual life though colour and chine colle (paper overlay) or hand tinting, just as the mood of a scene shifts with light, time and experience.

My work takes shape in the place between landscape and dreamscape. Whether in architectural or animal forms, it connects the experiential world to the imagination, the material to the emotional.

Our thoughts and feelings colour the things we encounter, and they in turn colour us. In my prints I give visual expression to this conversation.”

See page on Art of Illustration

Biography

Helen Brown grew up in Cambridge and did an Art Foundation course there then an art degree at Brighton. She learned screen printing, etching and linocut.

Techniques

While in Brighton she started to focus on linocut because she could do observational prints outdoors :

“I went to Devil’s Dyke, just outside Brighton and cut the block while sitting outside the pub. They gave me free food and loads of people asked what I was doing. The print worked very well, and people bought it. I thought I would follow this path for a while because I enjoyed it, and it worked well with my travelling.”

“I like the stages; you make the block and then there is the never-ending choice of how to print it. I might print the block in ten different colours. I really like chine colle, where I use coloured papers that I have cut up beforehand. This technique I have taken to extremes.”

“I have recently been thinking more about the marks, so I feel very inspired with my work.I made a lot of blocks from my last trip to Guatemala, which I print to have a bright, strong colour blend, like their dyed and woven fabrics. The landscape in Guatemala is quite unreal, so using unrealistic colours would not seem right. That is what is good about printmaking: I can print the blocks and it might look great, or not, but I can easily change the way I print it.”

The  prints are individually made by the artist in tranches of a few prints – the edition is not all printed at once.

See profile in D’Arcy and Vernon-Morris pp223-225

Yuji Hiratsuka

Yuji Hiratsuka sees Japan as a land of contrasts. On the surface it looks rather westernized with McDonald and Coca Cola. But underneath the facade traditional Japanese culture and values remained unchanged. His graphic work is a witty and original synthesis of old Japanese ukiyo-e tradition and modern Western elements.

website: http://www.artelino.com/articles/yuji_hiratsuka.asp

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Japanese gardens are cultivated high atop thirty story Western skyscrapers, or people dine on McDonald’s hamburgers while watching Sumo wrestling. In my work I explore this chaotic coexistence.

“There are many and varied points of view in modern Japan. Some survive from historic periods of significant aesthetic and philosophical development. Two periods in particular contribute to what is known as traditional Japanese art.”

“During the first, in the middle of the 16th century, the Shogun lords closed Japan to all foreign interactions and evolved an art independent of Chinese models. The most important influence was the simplicity born in the spirit of the Zen sect. Art based on Zen was an art of suggestion rather than expression; it emphasized the importance of empty spaces and simple forms.”

“The second period is the Edo era of the 17th century in which the Ukiyo-e school developed a popular art form, largely prints and reproductions, inexpensively designed for common people. Ukiyo-e art was decorative and brightly colored and often featured poster-like caricatures of national personalities (Yakusha-e).”

“In my work I draw from the ancient and the contemporary to express the mismatched combinations and hodgepodge which is Japanese daily life. The Zen aspect can be seen in my portraits. In this case, I always leave the face blank or flat and profile very simple.”

“I do not draw eyes or noses on my portraits. The human face is always changing; the face at work is different from the face that enjoys the love. Aging changes the faces also. I want my prints to express this change. The portraits are left ambiguous so that the viewer can add his/her interpretation. This is the aspect of suggestion rather than expression. Also, I am interested in the humorous and colorful aspects of Ukiyo-e poster art.”

“In my portraits I want to incorporate an element of wit through exaggeration and distortion. For emphasis, I fill in small areas with bright, whimsical colors. To express contemporary influences I use the figure dressed in Western style. My primary source of subject matter is photographs, frequently black and white, which I tear from books, magazines and newspapers. These materials are kept in my studio or in my bag, and whenever I am ready to begin a drawing for the print, I rummage through the wrinkled images.”

“There are small transitions in my work from time to time, and my interest is always based on unpredictable texture that is printed from the etched surface of the copper plate. My prints explore the complex relationship of paper, ink and etched plates to describe my thought, as well as the relationship which occurs between figures and space to express other human experiences. Always I try to investigate the maximum potential available to me as a printmaker.”

Biography

Yuji Hiratsuka was born in Osaka, Japan. In 1973 until 1978 he studied at Tokyo Gakugei University, Koganei-shi, Tokyo, Japan. In 1978 he graduated with a BS (Batchelor of Science) in Art Education.

In 1985 the young artist, then 33 years old, decided to take a plane in Eastern direction, and moved to the United States. Hiratsuka has not been the first one to make this step. Many Japanese artists of the 20th century went to the United States – some for studies, others for teaching. Some remained only one or two years in the U.S.A. and others forever.

Yuji Hiratsuka has stayed until now in his new homeland. He first extended and intensified his studies. From 1985 until 1987 he made his MA (Master of Arts) in printmaking at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. And from 1987 until 1990 he studied at Indiana University, Bloomington, and graduated with an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in printmaking.

In 1987 Hiratsuka began to work as an art instructor. Since 1992 he is an Associate Professor at the Department of Art, Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Technique: Chine Collé with Etching

The artist uses a mixed media combination of Chine Collé with etching. Thisis a  time-consuming printing process that requires a lot of skill and experience.

“My personal technique using Chine Collé with traditional and innovative etching is the following:

With continuous alterations to a copper plate I print a sequence of black, yellow, red and blue, passing the same plate through the press for each design and color change.

To start with; the first tones to the plate are given with line etching, drypoint, aquatint, softground, photocopy transfer or roulette. I pull my first color. With these first impressions, I work back into the plate with a scraper, burnisher and emery paper to enhance the lights and accent the motif. I then go on to the second, third and fourth colors.

Finally, the print is completed from the back with a relief process of woodcut or linocut to intensify shapes and/or colors.

I print on the paper which best suits my work; this is a thin Japanese paper known as Toyama Kozo (Japanese Mulberry). As in the French use of Chine Colle I apply glue to the back of the Kozo print and pass it through the press, with a heavier rag paper (BFK Rives or Somerset, etc.) beneath. What the viewer sees; is my four color intaglio print saturated with subtle tones that come through the back of a Toyama Kozo paper which is set deep into a rag paper.”

Yayoi Kusama

My big job is to glance my vision

a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement … Polka dots are a way to infinity.

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生 or 弥生 Kusama Yayoi?, born March 22, 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. Kusama’s work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. Throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, includingp ainting, collage, sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern. Kusama is also a published novelist and poet, and has created notable work in film and fashion design. A precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Although largely forgotten after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1998, the Whitney Museum in 2012, and Tate Modern in 2012. In 2008, Christies New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, then a record for a living female artist.

Video about the Tate Exhibition 2012

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Earth is a polka dot – about Mirror Room

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Kusama’s self-obliteration: Jud Yalkut video, 1967

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Princess of polka dots

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Floating in her Lemon Juice

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 Life

source: Wikipedia

Born in Matsumoto, Nagano into an upper-middle-class family of seedling merchants, Kusama has experienced hallucinations and severe obsessive thoughts since childhood, often of a suicidal nature. She claims that as a small child she suffered severe physical abuse by her mother.

Kusama started creating art at an early age, going on to study Nihonga painting in Kyoto in 1948. She was frustrated with this distinctly Japanese style and hated the rigidities of the master-disciple system where students were supposed to imbibe tradition through the sensei. “When I think of my life in Kyoto,” she is quoted as saying, “I feel like vomiting.”

She became interested in the European and American avant-garde. By 1950, Kusama was depicting abstracted natural forms in watercolor, gouache and oil, primarily on paper. She began covering surfaces (walls, floors, canvases, and later, household objects and naked assistants) with the polka dots that would become a trademark of her work. The vast fields of polka dots, or “infinity nets,” as she called them, were taken directly from her hallucinations. The earliest recorded work in which she incorporated these dots was a drawing in 1939 at age 10, in which the image of a Japanese woman in a kimono, presumed to be the artist’s mother, is covered and obliterated by spots. Her first series of large-scale, sometimes more than 30 ft-long canvas paintings, Infinity Nets, were entirely covered in a sequence of nets and dots that alluded to hallucinatory visions. In the early 1960s Kusama began to cover items such as ladders, shoes and chairs with white phallic protrusions. Despite the micromanaged intricacy of the drawings, she turned them out fast and in bulk, establishing a rhythm of productivity she still maintains. She established other habits too, like having herself routinely photographed with new work. She staged several solo exhibitions of her paintings in Matsumoto and Tokyo during the 1950s. 

Yayoi Kusama said about her 1954 painting titled Flower (D.S.P.S),

One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe. I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness. As I realized it was actually happening and not just in my imagination, I was frightened. I knew I had to run away lest I should be deprived of my life by the spell of the red flowers. I ran desperately up the stairs. The steps below me began to fall apart and I fell down the stairs straining my ankle.

1957 – 1973: US Pop culture

After living in Tokyo and France, Kusama left Japan in 1957 at the age of 27 for the United States, settling down in New York City where she produced a series of paintings influenced by the abstract expressionist movement. Her organically abstract paintings of one or two colors (the Infinity Nets series), which she began upon arriving in New York, garnered comparisons to the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman.

Switching to sculpture and installation as her primary mediums, Kusama became a fixture of the New York avant-garde, having her works exhibited alongside the likes of Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and George Segal during the early 1960s, where she became associated with the pop art movement.  In 1961 she moved her studio into the same building as Donald Judd and sculptor Eva Hesse. She was also a friend of Georgia O’Keefe.

Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, Kusama came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. Kusama organized outlandish happenings in conspicuous spots like Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge, often involving nudity and designed to protest the Vietnam War. In one, she wrote an open letter to Richard Nixon offering to have vigorous sex with him if he would stop the Vietnam war. Between 1967 and 1969 she concentrated on performances held with the maximum publicity, usually involving Kusama painting polka dots on her naked performers, as in the Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead at the MOMA (1969), which took place at the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art. In 1968, Kusama presided over the happening Homosexual Wedding at the Church of Self-obliteration in 33 Walker Street in New York, and performed alongside Fleetwood Mac and Country Joe and the Fish at the Fillmore East, New York City. She opened naked painting studios and a gay social club called the Kusama ‘Omophile Kompany (kok).

Since 1963, Kusama has continued her series of Mirror/Infinity rooms. In these complex installations, purpose-built rooms lined with mirrored glass contain scores of neon coloured balls, hanging at various heights above the viewer. Standing inside on a small platform, light is repeatedly reflected off the mirrored surfaces to create the illusion of a never-ending space.

In 1966, Kusama first participated in the 33rd Venice Biennale. Her Narcissus Garden comprised hundreds of mirrored spheres outdoors in what she called a “kinetic carpet”. As soon as the piece was installed on a lawn outside the Italian pavilion, Kusama, dressed in a golden kimono,[25] began selling each individual sphere for 1,200 lire (US$2), until the Biennale organisers put an end to her enterprise. Perhaps one of Kusama’s most notorious works,Narcissus Garden was as much about the promotion of the artist through the media as it was an opportunity to offer a critique of the mechanisation and commodification of the art market. Various versions of Narcissus Gardenhave been presented worldwide venues including Le Consortium, Dijon, 2000; Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2003; as part of the Whitney Biennial in Central Park, New York in 2004; and at the Jardin de Tuileries in Paris, 2010.

During her time in New York, Kusama had a decade-long sexless relationship with the American artist Joseph Cornell, Kusama’s only recorded romantic attachment to date.

However, she did not profit financially from her work. Around this time, Kusama was hospitalized regularly from overwork, and O’Keeffe convinced her own dealer Edith Herbert to purchase several works in order to help Kusama stave off financial hardship.

1973 – present return to Japan

In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, where she found the art scene far more conservative than that in New York. Becoming an art dealer, her business folded after several years, and after experiencing psychiatric problems, in 1977 she voluntarily admitted herself to a hospital, where she has spent the rest of her life. From here, she has continued to produce artworks in a variety of mediums, as well as launching a literary career by publishing several novels, a poetry collection and an autobiography.

In 1973, Kusama returned to Japan in ill health, where she began writing shockingly visceral and surrealistic novels, short stories, and poetry. Kusama checked herself into the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill and eventually took up permanent residence. She has been living at the hospital since, by choice. Her studio, where she has continued to produce work since the mid-1970s, is a short distance from the hospital in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Kusama is often quoted as saying: “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago.” She continued to paint, but now in high-coloured acrylics on canvas, on an amped-up scale.

When she left New York she was practically forgotten as an artist until the late 1980s and 1990s, when a number of retrospectives revived international interest. Following the success of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1993, a dazzling mirrored room filled with small pumpkin sculptures in which she resided in color-coordinated magician’s attire, Kusama went on to produce a huge, yellow pumpkin sculpture covered with an optical pattern of black spots. The pumpkin came to represent for her a kind of alter-ego or self-portrait. Kusama’s later installation I’m Here, but Nothing (2000–2008) is a simply furnished room consisting of table and chairs, place settings and bottles, armchairs and rugs, however its walls are tattooed with hundreds of fluorescent polka dots glowing in the UV light. The result is an endless infinite space where the self and everything in the room is obliterated. The multi-part floating work Guidepost to the New Space, a series of rounded “humps” in fire-engine red with white polka dots, was displayed in Pandanus Lake.

In her ninth decade, Kusama has continued to work as an artist. She has harked back to earlier work by returning to drawing and painting; her work remaining innovative and multi-disciplinary, and her most recent exhibition displayed multiple acrylic-on-canvas works. Also featured were an exploration of infinite space in her Infinity Mirror rooms; which typically involve a cube shaped room being clad with mirrors, water on the floor and flickering lights; which suggests a pattern of life and death.[35]

 

 Writing

In 1977, Kusama published a book of poems and paintings entitled 7. One year later, her first novel Manhattan Suicide Addict appeared. Between 1983 and 1990, she finished the novels The Hustler’s Grotto of Christopher Street (1983), The Burning of St Mark’s Church (1985), Between Heaven and Earth (1988), Woodstock Phallus Cutter (1988), Aching Chandelier (1989), Double Suicide at Sakuragazuka (1989), and Angels in Cape Cod (1990), alongside several issues of the magazine S&M Sniper in collaboration with photographer Nobuyoshi Araki.

Film

In 1968, the film Kusama’s Self-Obliteration which Kusama produced and starred in won a prize at the Fourth International Experimental Film Competition in Belgium and the Second Maryland Film Festival and the second prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. In 1991, Kusama starred in the film Tokyo Decadence, written and directed by Ryu Murakami, and in 1993, she collaborated with British musician Peter Gabriel on an installation in Yokohama.[37]

Fashion

In 1968, Kusama established Kusama Fashion Company Ltd., and began selling avantgarde fashion in the “Kusama Corner” at Bloomingdales. In 2009, Kusama designed a handbag-shaped cell phone entitled Handbag for Space Travel, My Doggie Ring-Ring, a pink dotted phone in accompanying dog-shaped holder, and a red and white dotted phone inside a mirrored, dotted box dubbed Dots Obsession, Full Happiness With Dots, for Japanese mobile communication giant KDDI Corporation‘s “iida” brand. Each phone was limited to 1000 pieces. In 2011, Kusama created artwork for six limited-edition lipglosses from Lancôme. That same year, she worked with Marc Jacobs (who visited her studio in Japan in 2006) on a line of Louis Vuitton products, including leather goods, ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, watches, and jewelry.

Performance

In Yayoi Kusama’s Walking Piece (1966), a performance that was documented in a series of eighteen color slides, Kusama walks along the streets of New York City in a traditional Japanese kimono with a parasol. The kimono suggests traditional roles for women in Japanese custom. The parasol, however, is made to look inauthentic as it is really a black umbrella painted white on the exterior and decorated with fake flowers. Kusama walks down unoccupied streets in an unknown quest. She then turns and cries without reason, and eventually walks away and vanishes from view. This performance, through the association of the kimono, involves the stereotypes that Asian American women continue to face. However, as an avant-garde artist living in New York, her situation alters the context of the dress, creating a cross-cultural amalgamation. Kusama is able to point out the stereotype that her white American audience categorizes her in by showing the absurdity of cultural catergorizing people in the world’s largest melting pot.

Commissions

To date, Kusama has completed several major outdoor sculptural commissions, mostly in the form of brightly hued monstrous plants and flowers, for public and private institutions including Pumpkin (1994) for the Fukuoka Municipal Museum of Art; The Visionary Flowers (2002) for the Matsumoto City Museum of Art; Tsumari in Bloom (2003) for Matsudai Station, Niigata;Tulipes de Shangri-La (2003) for Euralille in Lille, France; Pumpkin (2006) at Bunka-mura on Benesse Island of Naoshima; Hello, Anyang with Love (2007) for Pyeonghwa Park, Anyang; and The Hymn of Life: Tulips (2007) for the Beverly Gardens Park in Los Angeles.[43] In 1998, she realized a mural for the hallway of the Gare do Oriente subway station in Lisbon. Alongside these monumental works, she has produced smaller scale outdoor pieces including Key-Chan and Ryu-Chan, a pair of dotted dogs. All the outdoor works are cast in highly durable fiberglass-reinforced plastic, then painted in urethane to glossy perfection.

In 2010, Kusama designed a Town Sneaker-model bus, which she titled Mizutama Ranbu (Wild Polka Dot Dance) and whose route travels through her home town of Matsumoto. In 2011, she was commissioned to design the front cover of millions of pocket London Underground maps; the result is entitled Polka Dots Festival in London (2011). Coinciding with an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2012, a 120-foot reproduction of Kusama’s painting Yellow Trees (1994) covered a condominium building under construction in New York’s Meatpacking District. That same year, Kusama conceived her floor installation Thousands of Eyes as a commission for the new Queen Elizabeth II Courts of Law, Brisbane.