On a biting January night in Tokyo’s gleaming Omotesando neighborhood, a small crowd gathers outside a window pulsing with color. People bundled in jackets stop to aim their phones at the display: a spooky female figure, decked in gold and black polka dots, painting circles with stilted movements. Behind her, a video plays of the same likeness, so the paintbrush-wielding witch appears in double.
The figure at street-level stares into the distance as if in a reverie, then snaps to attention. Her gaze lifts and she seems to make eye contact. In that moment, the animatronic robot is uncannily true to life: She blinks, one side of her face twitching, then looks away, as if the viewer’s presence is a discomfort.
Yayoi Kusama creeps ever closer to immortality, one public stunt at a time.