“Accumulation No. 1” By: Yayoi Kusama


When I first saw Yayoi Kusama’s “Accumulation No. 1” I was intrigued by the juxtaposition of the quite common form of the chair and the rather surprising tube-like fabric additions. Upon further research I discovered that these fabric additions were very important foundations of the future and growth of soft structures. This piece may even have inspired Kusama’s friend and studio mate Claes Oldenburg’s era of soft sculpture. “Accumulation No. 1” was originally created in 1962 but made its debut at the MoMA in the “Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-1972” exhibition in 1988.

Upon reading the curatorial statement of the piece I became even more interested. Kusama had a very specific repetitive working style which she referred to as “obliteration”. It involved repeated actions until the purpose is seemingly lost. This explains the chaotic and visual stimulating appearance of the soft structures protruding from the chair.


Initial Observations:

  • The protruding shapes are all individual, no two seem to be the same
  • The paint which covers the piece is rather multi-dimensional, it is not one solid layer but rather exposes different aspects of what it underneath
  • Interesting clash of the expected and the fantastic
  • Phallic appearance of the fabric protrusions
  • The piece is meant to be viewed in the round
  • Has a very distinctly different appearance from every different angle
  • The piece draws the attention of many in the room and many people seem to be confused or amused
  • Almost has a sense of motion
  • The piece appears almost cloud-like in shape and color but also has a good sense of weight
  • Whimsical yet serious, tassels on the end of the chair seem to move a little bit when people walk by
  • Very interesting series of overlapping shadows


Kusama’s Career: http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/10/09/yayoi-kusamas-return-to-moma/

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