press release

Dots for Love and Peace (2009), one of only three temporary public art projects worldwide designed by iconic Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, is currently installed on the exterior architecture of City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand.

While City Gallery Wellington regularly showcases contemporary artworks by some of New Zealand and the world's leading artists, this is the first time the Gallery's art deco heritage listed building has become the site for a temporary site-specific public artwork.

Yayoi Kusama is widely respected as an extraordinarily innovative and singular artist, one whose prolific work over the last five decades has influenced generations of artists and designers worldwide. Her signature dots are forever inscribed on the face of contemporary art.

"Dots for Love and Peace (2009) is an intense and unexpected public artwork, and reflects Kusama's obsessive interest in repetition, pattern and colour" says Gallery director Paula Savage. "Blue, yellow, orange, pink, red and green dots in a range of different sizes animate the facade of the building, adding a sense of drama and playfulness to Civic Square. Wellingtonians and visitors to the city alike are intrigued by this joyful work, and each day many passing through the city's public Square stop to capture photographs of themselves posing against the dots."

The scale of the work is immense, covering the entire 52 metre frontage of City Gallery Wellington. Working from the 1930's architectural drawings of the Gallery façade, Ms Kusama created a detailed plan for the public artwork, with exact specifications of colour, size and placement of each individual dot.

"This work has provided a remarkable opportunity for City Gallery Wellington to reach out and connect with a general public beyond the usual Gallery going public," said Gallery director Paula Savage. "I first met with Ms Kusama at Kusama Studio, Tokyo in 2004, beginning the process of negotiating to present her work in New Zealand. We were very excited when the artist agreed to design a new public artwork specifically for the Gallery as well as two new site-specific installations Dots Obsession Day 2009 and Dots Obsession Night 2009.

While Ms Savage's relationship with Ms Kusama was the genesis of the work, it was the generous investment and support of sponsors in New Zealand that enabled the Gallery to realize Dots for Love and Peace (2009). Paula Savage says, "The final artwork continues to amaze and captivate all who pass by. Kusama's signature dots will be sorely missed at the close of the exhibition."

The public artwork coincides with the major three-venue exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years which closes at City Gallery Wellington on 7 February 2010. Instigated by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam and Le Consortium, Dijon, it has travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and City Gallery Wellington, and has been shaped and augmented for each venue. For City Gallery Wellington three new works have been added, thanks to the generosity of the artist and Yayoi Kusama Studio, Tokyo and Ota Fine Art Tokyo.

The exhibition has been curated by Jaap Guldemond (MBvB), Franck Gautherot and Seungduk Kim (Le Consortium), with additional works added for Australasia by Judith Blackall (Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney) and Paula Savage (City Gallery Wellington).

Yayoi Kusama
Mirrored Years
curators: Jaap Guldemond, Franck Gautherot, Seungduk Kim
curators Australia: Judith Blackall, Paula Savage