Last Tuesday, I enjoyed a night at the museum with Veuve Cliquot for the unique closing dinner of the retrospective of exceptional artist Yayoi Kusama at Gropius Bau in Berlin. On display in the entrance hall was the champagne house’s new, exciting collaboration with the Japanese artist who dressed the La Grande Dame 2012 Limited Edition in her signature patterns, the polka dots. Also on display was Kusama’s artwork «My Heart that Blooms in the Darkness of the Night», a vibrant floral sculpture.
Among the guests from art and culture were German A-listers Iris Berben, Lea van Acken, Andreas Mühe, Christian and Karen Boros, William Fan, Franz Dinda, Hardy Krüger jr, Esther Perbandt, Johann König and many more.
German actress Iris Berben exploring the early years of the Kusama exhibition.
The evening started with a private guided tour through the amazing retrospective of Yayoi Kusama (92). From an upper class Japanese family that owned a seed nursery business, Yayoi Kusama grew up in a conservative environment. When she left school, and against her mother’s wishes, Yayoi decided to leave Japan, which she considered too small a country, and her family, where art as a career was not appreciated. Kusama left for the US, first Seattle, before settling in New York.
As a painter, sculptor, author, and performance artist, but also a filmmaker, writer, and a female artist of Asian origin in a predominantly male, Western art world, her audacity knew no bounds, as her controversial «happenings» showed. She soon gained recognition and her tenacity paid off: from the 1960s onwards she was one of the few female artists to make a living from her work.
Since her early years, the artist has experienced obsessions and hallucinations; she uses art as a sort of antidote for healing, a kind of self-medication. The canvases she covers with nets and dots have a dual effect; she demonstrates a mastery of repetition that at the same time reveals its infinite character; its overflow is liberating. Interesting to know is that Kusama was the first person in the 20th century to use this method of harnessing an individual’s potential for artistic expression and creativity for openly psychotherapeutic purposes. Today this has acquired the name «art therapy».
As a young artist, Kusama gained inspiration from plants and flowers, which she saw as a symbol of life, birth and regeneration. In later years, they became part of her figurative languages as positive symbols conveying vital energy and regeneration.
The flower is what led her to paint dots at the start of her career – the famous polka dots, which have become her signature. At her happenings in the late 1960s she covered her own and the participants’ bodies in these dots.
«Polka dots are a life, and the moon, the sun, and the stars are one of hundred of millions of polka dots. This is my grand philosophy. With peace from polka dots, I would like to deeply launch my longing for eternal love. Polka dots shall continue to proliferate and appeal to the people with my message.» – Yayoi Kusama
This message of hope and optimism has made her a much-loved figure who is avidly followed by a wide public. She was one of TIME magazine‘s 100 most influential people in the world in 2016 and is now a style icon. She has collaborated with countless brands; from couture (remember the fantastic collaboration with Louis Vuitton in 2012) to streetwear, Kusama’s name fascinates and inspires.
In honor of Madame Cliquot, Veuve Cliquot has commissioned Yayoi Kusama to create a joyful, original work celebrating the new vintage, La Grande Dame 2012. Two bold destinies, two innovative minds, two avantgardists who influenced their times.
With Petra Nagel, Managing Director Moët Hennessy Deutschland (LVMH)
Celebrating this magic encounter, we were invited outside after the tour to enjoy a champagne reception, followed by a wonderful vegetarian/vegan dinner with live performance accompanied by three amazing vintage champagnes; Veuve Cliquot La Grand Dame 2012, La Grand Dame Rosé 2006 and La Grand Dame 2008 Magnum.
A beautiful evening – thank you Veuve Cliquot for inviting me to Berlin, for these unforgettable memories and a message of hope and optimism.
I fully enjoyed the dinner thanks also to the lovely company of Karen Boros, Lea Van Acken and Hendrikje Kopp.
Photos: Franziska Krug/Getty Images for Veuve Clicquot, Agentur EVENTPRESS for Veuve Cliquot and © Sandra Bauknecht
DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored, but I only recommend products I love. Promise.