草間彌生:無盡圓點背後 | YAYOI KUSAMA: WHAT’S IN A DOT?

「我的生命是一粒點,是億萬粒子中的一點。」- 草間彌生

“My life is a dot lost among thousands of other dots.” – Yayoi Kusama

草間彌生把她的圓點哲學和幻覺產生的影像投射在畫布上,創造出一件又一件的名作。

When your mind is in chaos, project the images on a piece of canvas, find peace of mind and it will become your own masterpiece.

這位日本藝術家自小因為父母壓力而受創傷,在10歲時確診患上思覺失調。草間的幻覺令她看到身邊的事物都佈滿圓點,畫畫則成為她唯一舒緩病徵的方法。草間彌生稱自己爲一位「強逼症藝術家」,纏擾她多年的波點亦成為她作品的標誌性元素。

This is what the iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama did. Traumatized by a dreadful childhood under the pressure of her parents, Kusama started to experience hallucinations, dots covering everything she saw. She was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) at the age of 10, when painting became her only emotional outlet. Being an “obsessive artist” of polka-dots, this particular pattern dominate her artworks and has become her well-known trademark.

「如果不是藝術,我早就死了。」
“Painting saved my life.”

草間彌生 Yayoi Kusama

「當我有自殺念頭時,醫生鼓勵我畫畫。藝術是我唯一能夠減輕病徵的方法, 舒緩內心的痛苦與絕望。」對草間來說,藝術是幫助她逃離困擾現實最有效的方法。她在保守的日本家庭中長大,母親只希望她成為傳統家庭主婦。當母親發現草間在畫畫時,便嚴厲地懲罰她。相反,草間彌生在母親強烈的反對下,更投入於藝術世界中,換取短暫逃離現實的時刻。

“When I wanted to commit suicide, my doctor encouraged me to paint more. I fight pain, anxiety and fear every day, and art is the only method I have found to relieve my illness.” Art has been the healing medicine to her soul and a way to escape from haunting reality. Growing up in a conservative Japanese family, her mother only wanted her to be a housewife and would punish her severely for spending time on developing her art interest. Under the great resistance and pressure from her mother, Kusama indulges herself in creating art even more intensely as the only way of temporary mental escapism.

Pumpkin Army 南瓜軍
草間彌生,2014年作,壓克力畫布,130 by 162 cm
Yayoi Kusama, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 130.3 by 162 cm
Courtesy to Sotheby’s

草間一直渴望離開日本和她的家人,遠赴美國發展。充滿雄心壯志的草間在1950年代開始致函美國著名女藝術家喬治亞・歐姬芙,徵詢她的意見,並向她請教在紐約藝壇闖出名堂的方法。歐姬芙隨後向草間回信,更鼓勵她的經紀商買下數幅草間的作品。草間不惜任何方法,希望向國際觀衆展示她的圓點藝術和理念。

Driven by her desire to leave Japan and her family, the Japanese artist in her 20s dreamed of getting her big break in America. In the 1950s, Kusama courageously sent letters and sought advice from Georgia O’Keefe, an American female painter she admired. Despite Kusama being an unknown artist, O’Keefe replied to her, continued to counsel her and even encouraged her dealer to purchase Kusama’s works. Kusama never let go of her passions and stuck to her philosophy of dots in order to showcase her art worldwide.

草間彌生用藝術進入「自我消融」的狀態,「將自己化作微塵,藉着無限時間,在無盡的宇宙漂浮,達至無我境界。」她選擇不壓抑腦海裡的瘋狂幻想,反而任意在畫布上繪出想象力。她對圓點如此執迷,因為她認爲圓點代表宇宙和自我消融之道。「地球,月亮,太陽,星星,甚至人類都是由圓點組成的。地球只是遼闊宇宙裏的一個小圓點……人們把自己和大自然化爲圓點時,便能與世界融為一體。」

To Kusama, art is a kind of “self-obliteration”, “to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space and be reduced to nothingness”. Rather than suppressing the wild imaginations to ever stem from her mind, Kusama chooses to embrace them and let it grow through her paintings as they please. Her peculiar obsession with dots is quite as evident as she describes it – “dots are symbols of the world, the cosmos. The Earth is a dot, the moon, the sun, the stars are all made up of dots. You and me, we are dots”. She sees polka dots as “a way to infinity” – “our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos … when we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment”.

大海的眼睛 On the Ocean
草間彌生,約一九七〇年代作,壓克力彩 畫布,45.5 x 38 cm
Yayoi Kusama, painted approximately in 1970s, Acrylic on canvas, 45.5 x 38 cm
Courtesy to China Guardian (Hong Kong)

上海南瓜 Shanghai Pumpkin
草間彌生,2010年作,絲網版畫 晶石閃粉,圖像:53.5 × 45 cm , 紙張: 76 × 56 cm
Yayoi Kusama, Executed in 2010, Screenprint with lamé, image: 53.5 × 45 cm, sheet: 76 × 56 cm
Courtesy to China Guardian (Hong Kong)

生活在波點世界裡的草間彌生把自己獨特的信念放入作品裏。草間的藝術創作過程,證明表達自我的力量能克服世俗人的偏見和壓力。

Infatuated with the supernatural power of polka dots, and the idea of it as a fundamental element of our universe, Kusama boldly expresses her peculiar beliefs to the world through her showpieces. Worldly judgments and expectations often crush a person’s imaginative spirit in discovering the unknown, whilst self-revealing and expressing through art brings empowerment.

雖然草間彌生的意念很抽象,但她的概念能透過作品流露出來。試體驗這位藝術家的作品,探索她的幻想世界。

While Kusama’s ideas may sound abstract when they are written in words, her artworks speak it for themselves. Check out more of her masterpieces and be fascinated by what she expresses in her fantasy world.

Text by Natalie Cheung and Anna Lam

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