Manhattan Suicide Addict - Yayoi Kusama
Manhattan Suicide Addict.
First edition. 8vo (220 x 182mm). 296pp text with monochrome illustrations in original fluorescent orange and gold wrappers. Bright orange printed dust jacket with cover design that prints the titles in English and Japanese.
Japanese with occasional English text. Tokyo: Kousakusha, 1978.
Spine a little sunned and dust jacket foxed underneath. Lacking the original publisher obi.
A striking first edition of Yayoi Kusama's debut novel Manhattan Suicide Addict. Published in 1978, a year after Kusama had returned to Japan following the death of her partner Joseph Cornell. The novel (never translated into English), is best described as a faux autobiography, describing Kusama's years in New York in the 50s and 60s.
Kusama's approach to the format of a novel feels close to an artist book, with full-page psychedelic illustrations. Organic forms like butterflies, seahorses, shells, snakeskins and occasional glimpses of human forms frequently interrupt her text and form their own bizarre narrative. Kusama pairs these with statements like 'planet earth, con-artist of the universe'. Her writing, like the illustrations, is equally trippy and intertwined with the signature motifs of her art. 'POLKA DOTS ARE A WAY TO INFINITY. WHEN WE OBLITERATE NATURE AND OUR BODIES WITH POLKA DOTS, WE BECOME PART OF THE UNITY OF OUR ENVIRONMENT, I BECOME PART OF THE ETERNAL, AND WE OBLITERATE OURSELVES IN LOVE'