Comprehensive Retrospective of Yayoi Kusama at the Reina Sofia In Madrid
Madrid - SEP 08, 2011
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía presents a comprehensive retrospective monographic exhibition about Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama from May 11th through September 18th.

It is organised in collaboration with Tate Modern, and it will offer a global vision of a career that spans six decades. For the Spanish public, this is the first chance to visit a large scale Kusama exhibition. She is considered to be the most famous living artist in Japan. After the show in Spain, the exhibition will travel to other main international art centres: the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Tate Modern in London and the Whitney Museum in New York.

The exhibition on display at Museo Reina Sofía, curated by Frances Morris, Tate Modern’s Permanent Collections Curator (International Art), aims to show the width and profoundness of Kusama’s production, giving priority to the artist’s most intense moments of innovation through 150 pieces from her own collection, galleries and private collections, as well as some of the most important museums in the world: the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), MoMA – Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington), The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokio) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokio), among others. The show takes the visitor in a journey through time to explore, in a series of “ambients”, Kusama’s body of work and her approach to different materials and techniques, drawing, painting, collage and assemblage, installation, film, performance, edition and design. “This exhibition in focused on the moments when she worked for the first time with specific languages that are reflected exactly as they were when they appeared and absorbed the artist’s creative energy”, says Frances Morris, curator of the exhibition.

Amongst the main pieces on display, there is a selection of her first works on paper, rarely exhibited before; captivating series, less known, like the hallucinated photographic collage that she created when she went to Japan (1973); and also her most praised and significative projects, such as "Infinity Net" (1960–1970) and the "Accumulation Sculptures" (1960–1965). The show also includes several large-scale installations like "I’m Here, But Nothing" (2000), or a new depiction of infinite space, in "Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life" (2011), a montage specifically designed for the occasion. Lastly, the exhibition will conclude documentarily with the projection of some of her most polemic performances, such as "Walking piece" or "Self-Obliteration", and a room devoted exclusively to graphic documentation, where there will be photographs, newspaper and magazine covers or posters of some of her exhibitions, that will help the visitor to contextualise the artist. The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, along with the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza forms the Madrid “golden triangle” of art museums.

The Reina Sofia was originally built to house the city’s hospital between 1776 and 1781 and for the next 200 years, numerous additions and renovations were made and the hospital building narrowly escaped demolition several times. However, a Royal Decree in 1977 declared it to be a National Historic Monument and plans to turn the building into a new modern and contemporary art museum were drawn up. Architect Antonio Fernández Alba was commissioned to oversee the renovation and the Reina Sofia Art Center opened in April 1986, initially providing temporary exhibition galleries on the lower two floors only. Finishing touches were added by architects José Luis Iñíguez de Onzoño and Antonio Vázquez de Castro, along with the striking steel and glass external elevators, which gave the building its contemporary look. On 10 September 1992, their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia (after whom the museum is named) inaugurated the Permanent Collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the building and collection were fully opened to the public. In 2005, a spectacular extension, designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel was officially opened. The new Nouvel buildings greatly increased the overall floor space by 60% (and the display space by 50%) giving the museum 84,048 square meters, including a 450 seat auditorium, temporary exhibition rooms, a friendly bar, restaurant, library and the museum shop.

The permanent collection of the Reina Sofia came from the former Museo Espanol de Arte Contemporaneo (MEAC), supplemented by new acquisitions and transfers from other museums, including amongst other works, the arrival of Pablo Picasso’s world-famous work, “Guernica” from the Prado. The Reina Sofia is mainly dedicated to Spanish art including excellent collections of Spain's two greatest 20th century masters, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Along with the MACBA in Barcelona, the Reina Sofia now gives Spain world-class museums of modern and contemporary art to rival the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Tate Modern in London and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Museo Reina Sofia 

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