Born into a family of merchants who owned a plant nursery and seed farm, Yayoi Kusama’s childhood was surrounded by naturalistic imagery. This influence from her childhood is reflected in Path to the Future, which features anthropomorphic shapes that are a unique fusion of the dot, the net, and the phallus . Suggesting a microscopic world teeming with life, this colourful and all encompassing juxtaposition of complementary colours is meticulously and purposefully painted in clean, flat edges that offer the viewer a window into Kusama’s colourful imagination.
Painted in 1988, Kusama’s works from this time period often bear titles that emphasise the metaphorical . Path to the Future, both in name and in artistic language, is a strikingly optimistic turn towards an increasingly positive outlook on life for Kusama. The stability and artistic expression that Kusama found after checking herself permanently into Seiwa hospital and painting in a nearby studio also coincided with a steady increase in appreciation for her work, not only in Japan but also in the West. Kusama had her first New York retrospective in 1989 at the Centre for International Contemporary Arts. Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective marked a significant revival of American and European interest in the artist’s work, and it was the first time she had shown in the US in over 16 years. Kusama also became the first ever Japanese artist to grace the cover of Art in America that same year.