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Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Flower Obsession’ Invites Guests to Cover a Domestic Interior With Faux Blossoms

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017 Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (previously) is known for her color explosions, light matrices, and proclivity towards covering many of her works in a dazzling layer of dots. In one of her most interactive installations, the artist hands her interest in dot making over to the visitor. The Obliteration Room invites guests to “obliterate” a domestic interior by placing colorful stickers onto the walls, furniture, and floors.

For her recent commission for the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, the artist transformed this concept to include a flower motif. For Flower Obsession (2017) guests were given artificial gerbera daisies and flower stickers to place on any surface of their choosing, completely covering the faux-apartment by the end of the triennial’s four-month run. This floral theme taps into the beginning of the artist’s art-making, referencing a memory from her early childhood.

“One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern,” Kusama explains in a press release for the triennial. “I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant my soul was obliterated … This was not an illusion but reality itself.”

The NGV Triennial closed late last week. You can view more documentation from the inaugural exhibition, including this massive installation of hyperrealistic human skulls by Ron Mueck, on the National Gallery of Victoria’s website.

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Crowds enjoy Yayoi Kusama’s Flower obsession 2017 on display at NGV Triennial 2017. Photo: Sam Wong

Crowds enjoy Yayoi Kusama’s Flower obsession 2017 on display at NGV Triennial 2017. Photo: Sam Wong

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland

Exhibition image of Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession 2017 on display in NGV Triennial at NGV International 2017. Photo: Eugene Hyland