Radical Acts

Yayoi Kusama. Accumulation No. 1. 1962

Sewn stuffed fabric, paint, and chair fringe, 37 x 39 x 43" (94 x 99.1 x 109.2 cm). Gift of William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. J. Hall (by exchange). © 2021 Yayoi Kusama

Midori Yamamura: My name is Midori Yamamura. And we are right now looking at Yayoi Kusama's Accumulation No. 1.

It is made out of a scavenged armchair covered with sewn, stuffed protrusions. She created this work not by herself alone, and the evidences are in her diary. February 20th, she said “sewing machine came.” And on March 1st, she called up the fabric shop and got some fabric. And then on the 9th, she borrowed the second sewing machine. And every day there were about five people in her studio. It was an entire day of stuffing cottons.

The sculpture was called Accumulations because she has this condition, an obsessive compulsive neurosis. She tends to repeat things over and over in order to calm herself down. The repetition is also a metaphor of contemporary society. She said that life is like being on the conveyor belt. It's almost like drinking so many cups of coffee over and over.

Kusama sat on these chairs making phone calls and so on. And in that way, she's really putting herself above male symbols. And I love this chair because it's humorous, at the same time, it's a little bit creepy and scary.

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