A silvery sea of reflecting spheres, vast expanses of white phalluses, a proliferation of polka dots that overflow the canvases to invade the entire room. In the middle, swallowed up by her own art, a minute Japanese woman with pitch black hair. Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto into a traditionalist family in 1929. As soon as she was able, little Yayoi took refuge on the plantations of her maternal grandfather, where she abandoned herself amid clouds of hollyhocks to the outlandish visions that were then captured on canvas. Painting was the only relief for the existential angst that struck her at a very early age, and she decided to embrace it all the way, even if it meant putting an entire ocean between herself and those seeking to prevent her. At the age of 28 she arrived in New York, hell on earth, and art was once again her salvation. She overcame poverty and repeated nervous breakdowns, exorcising her phobias with the celebrated Infinity Nets and soft sculptures. It was a short step from “psychosomatic” art to wild, orgiastic performances. In the late 1960s she rode the hippy wave and the Kusama Happenings became the key events of the pacifist revolution. The priestess of polka dots asked a policeman whether he preferred war or free love. Her disciples addressed her as “sister” like a nun because, contrary to what her outraged compatriots believed, she directed the dances but did not participate. In actual fact, she found sex literally horrifying, far more so than death, which her friend Joseph Cornell described as no more than going into the next room. Related in the first person with disconcerting sincerity and a wealth of authentically comic anecdotes, these pages trace the trajectory of one of the most eccentric, ambivalent and charming personalities that Japanese art has ever known.