She’s been called the “princess of polka dots”. Yayoi Kusama started painting with her distinctive polka dot motif when she was 10 years old, and she’s been working them into grand, playful artworks ever since. Including her bright-yellow Pumpkin sculpture in Japan, decorated with dots, and her dazzling infinity rooms, which often use polka dot shaped mirrors.

Kusama’s eight-decade career has captivated art lovers of all ages, all around the world. So it’s very exciting that, later this year, Melbourne will host the most comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the contemporary artist to ever be presented.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has announced its blockbuster summer exhibition: Yayoi Kusama. It will involve 180 artworks by the Japanese artist spread across the entire ground floor of NGV International.

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The exhibition will show sculptures, paintings, fashion, video and various items from 95-year-old Kusama’s long career. The five-metre-tall bronze sculpture, Dancing Pumpkin, looks like the it has sprawled its segments and is making a dash to the dance floor. Maze-like sculpture The Hope of the Polka Dots Buried in Infinity Will Eternally Cover the Universe, 2019 feels as though you’re wrestling with the pumpkin. And, thrillingly, we’ll be the first to experience a brand-new infinity mirror room.

Yayoi Kusama will be displayed chronologically, starting with Kusama’s early sketches, drawings and paintings. There’ll be rare photos, film, letters and other objects from the artist’s archive, and a recreation of sorts of her studio in New York, where Kusama threw psychedelic parties. Plus, around 20 fashion designs she created in the ’60s.

Another promised highlight is Narcissus Garden: a new presentation of an installation Kusama showed, unofficially, at the Venice Biennale in 1966. Around 1400 stainless-silver balls will hang at the entrance to the gallery, reflecting viewers’ images back at them, but also creating an illusion of infinite space.

Kusama’s signature polka dots will also be found around the NGV International’s public spaces, including one with enormous balloons that will float over visitors’ heads, called Dots Obsession. And kids will also get their own Kusama experience in the free children’s gallery.

Yayoi Kusama will open on December 15 and run until April 21, 2025.