It took director Takako Matsumoto about a year to really win the confidence of Yayoi Kusama, the subject of her documentary “Watashi Daisuki (I Adore Myself).” Only then did the avant-garde artist start addressing the filmmaker by her name — in the first 12 months it was all guarded looks at the camera and barbed observations that the “camera’s too noisy for me to work.”

Getting inside the head of an artist — to explore their motivations and thoughts — is always going to be a challenge. But with Kusama that challenge is even more difficult: not only is she unusually wary of prying questions, but she insists that her work springs, without thought, from visions and dreams. “The brush moves first, the thoughts come later,” Kusama tells The Japan Times.

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