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Print Club: Hans Christian Andersen Gets a Makeover Courtesy of Yayoi Kusama

Your favourite Japanese artist has illustrated a new edition of The Little Mermaid.

Yayoi Kusama was born half a century after the death of Hans Christian Andersen, but the two intensely creative visionaries would probably have gotten along famously. Copenhagen’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art certainly thinks so, having collaborated with Japan's most famous living artist to produce a remarkable new illustrated version of The Little Mermaid.

"Hans Christian Andersen is a dream born in my heart," says Kusama on her relationship with the Danish writer, whose other famous fairy tales include The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Snow Queen and The Ugly Duckling. "I want to be a mermaid. I place all my hopes for the future in the mermaid, who is a symbol of all good hearts and of love."

The Little Mermaid: A Fairy Tale of Infinity and Love Forever has been produced as a follow-up to Louisiana’s major retrospective exhibition of the Japanese contemporary artist’s work, titled In Infinity. 

The new edition is illustrated with works from Kusama’s series Love Forever, accompanied by a set of new drawings especially commissioned for the project.

Hans Christian Anderson lived and worked in Copenhagen, so the Louisiana Museum is uniquely qualified to reproduce his writing for a new art world audience. The museum worked closely with one of the world’s leading Andersen experts, Professor Johan de Mylius, to produce a revised version of the text that takes into account the changing nature of contemporary Danish language.

The story’s original meaning and intentions, however, have been preserved as much as possible. The writer’s rich language has been reproduced in both Danish and English, and a Japanese translation is in the works for release later this year.

Not only is the richly illustrated book stunning to look at, but it’s also a joy to hold in your hands. Designed by the Louisiana Museum’s chief designer Marie d’Origny Lübecker, its 96 pages are constructed from specially selected paper types found in collaboration with the paper supplier Antalis.

Check out more images of the text and Kusama’s accompanying illustrations below.

You can find out more about the book and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art's other publications here.

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