"I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland."
-Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama
It's only fitting that the self-described 'modern Alice' was commissioned by Penguin to create artwork for a new edition of Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, to be published February 2. (Side note: can you tell I really like Penguin Classics? They've done so much amazing stuff in the past few years, working with incredibly talented artists, illustrators, and typographers to produce gorgeous covers & interiors).
Kusama is pretty fascinating: since she was a child, she's suffered from hallucinations that obscure her vision with spots. She's also battled with mental illness from childhood; she checked herself into the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill in 1973 and resides there permanently of her own accord. Her perspective on the world has translated into whimsical, surreal artwork - perfectly in keeping with the feel of the fantastical Wonderland world Carroll created.
I'll definitely be adding this edition to my bookshelf - it's too beautiful and unique not to.
More about the artist:
Yayoi Kusama grew up in Japan and studied a traditional style of painting called Nihonga, but disliked the formality and rigidity of the discipline. She started painting abstractly and, after time in Tokyo & France, moved to New York at 27 in the late 50s, making a name for herself in the 60s Pop Art scene.
One of her recent installations, created for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, comprised a pristine white environment Kusama created, which was then finished by her tiny collaborators: thousands of children that filtered through the museum and plastered the space with bright stickers.
If you happen to be in London this spring, a retrospective of her work (over a 40 year period) will be on display at the Tate Modern from February 8 - June 5.