Polka dots and Yayoi Kusama

Polka dots, is the “a pattern consisting of an array of large filled circles of the same size.” according to Wikipedia.

The polka dots pattern, despite being popular and widely recognized in today’s fashion. It hasn’t always been this way. In the old times “In Medieval Europe, the pattern was initially seen as very unpleasant, representing disease and impurity. Meanwhile, in Non-Western cultures, dots are viewed as symbols of male virility and magic.” (The Old Timey) To be more specific, the patterns of irregular dots reminded people of rashes caused by diseases like small pox and there are also sayings that it looks like the blood coughed onto hand-chief when one is sick.

In 19th century; however, people changed their minds about polka dots. They associated it with a dance named polka dance, and it was belived that the pattern of polka dots “evokes the cheerful, light nature of the dance”, according to The Old Timey.


When you type those into the google search engine and try to find the famous artist of this genre, most likely, you are going to end up with Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist who is famous of her works made out of all kinds of polka dots. Red hair, dressed in the clothing of bright colored dots, is the first impression of the artist. Looking the work that Kusama did, it’s almost the same as the artist herself, looking wild, bright, mysterious and impressive.

Infinity mirror is one of Kusama’s early works that’s comprised of repetitive dots. The scale of her work is not big at this time, but it can be seen that the objects with polka dots are layout in such a way that it is fulfilling the whole space.

As time passes by, it can be seen that Kusama’s love for Polka dots is getting bigger.

From big pumpkin sculpture.

to big flowers,

to Dots Obsession. Scale wise, it’s getting larger and larger, and the installations made by Kusama has grew to be a jungle of wonder, and the visitors are turned into miniatures by her magical work.

Despite that you’ve seen these sculptures above made by Kusama, unlikely that you would guess, that she is also a master of using lights and reflections. Mirrors, just like dots, seems to have held a special place in Kusama’s heart.

Related image


Related image


Infinity mirrors, with different themes and a lot of dots, it’s almost like entering an alien world, or peeking through a child’s dream.


Feature image of pumpkin: https://www.dezeen.com/2016/06/02/yayoi-kusama-mirror-infinity-room-installations-pumpkins-chandelier-victoria-miro-gallery-exhibition-london/

Wikipedia definition of polka dots: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polka_dot

Infinity mirror: https://play.qagoma.qld.gov.au/looknowseeforever/timeline/

The old timey: http://theoldtimey.com/the-fascinating-origins-of-polka-dots/

Polka dots extended to one’s face: https://healthland.time.com/2013/01/29/5-things-you-should-know-about-chickenpox-and-shingles/

Polka dance cover: http://lpcoverlover.com/category/polka/

Dots obsession: https://www.modernamuseet.se/stockholm/en/exhibitions/yayoi-kusama/

Pumpkin sculpture: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/yayoi-kusama-is-bringing-infinity-mirror-rooms-and-massive-pumpkins-to-the-new-york-botanical-garden-070919

Big flower: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwj36r_Ni5nnAhUWVc0KHRdCDzgQjhx6BAgBEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.victoria-miro.com%2Fexhibitions%2F411%2Fworks%2F492a01040787eb%2F&psig=AOvVaw0PSEX9OevA8QLNJW3Od5eU&ust=1579847182417350

infinity mirrors: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiatuHykJnnAhWQK80KHUC4AHIQjhx6BAgBEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thestar.com.my%2Flifestyle%2Ftravel%2F2019%2F03%2F17%2Fyayoi-kusama-museum-macan-contemporary-art&psig=AOvVaw1qbAn4GOeNJkIPpTtcvm9K&ust=1579848114337167

Infinity mirrors: https://www.cbc.ca/arts/12-places-where-you-can-find-a-yayoi-kusama-infinity-mirror-room-right-now-1.4893108

Infinity mirrors: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwis-dLXj5nnAhXMPM0KHX8yAnoQjhx6BAgBEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.whitewall.art%2Fart%2Fmust-see-new-york-november-shows&psig=AOvVaw1qbAn4GOeNJkIPpTtcvm9K&ust=1579848114337167




Previous Post
Aesthetic Explorations – Ultra Thin Geometry
Next Post
Aesthetic Exploration: Steampunk

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Victoria Rios
    January 28, 2020 1:20 am

    i really loved this post and getting to know more about yayoi kusama. i have been to one of her exhibits and it was captivating and fantastic. i love how she incorporates patterns and repetition throughout her art because it is very satisfying to look at and i just love patterns and color. i also appreciate how you went step by step with pictures all the way through and described the history behind polka dots and the idea of the polka dance which brings cheer and joy.

  • Love this post. Yayoi Kusama is one of my favorite artists and I would one day love to see some of her pieces in person. When did you first discover Yayoi Kusama? Have you had the chance to see any of her installations yourself? I think her work is incredibly unique and I agree when you compare some of her larger pieces to
    “jungle[s] of wonder.” I love how she incorporates her own appearance and fashion with her physical artwork. She is truly an inspiration.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.