Infinity Nets (HOAWD)

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  • Provenance

    Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo
    Private Collection, Canada
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    It was in 1958, shortly after moving to New York, that Yayoi Kusama would begin her most iconic and enduring series of paintings, the Infinity Nets. Painted in 2014, almost 50 years after the inauguration of the series, Infinity Nets (HOAWD) shows a pure mastery of the painterly idiom that secured Kusama’s unique and groundbreaking contribution to the history of abstract painting. Originating from a powerful challenge to the biased hegemony towards bravado brushwork in a male dominated art world in 1960s America, the Infinity Nets employ a unique conceptual approach. They stem from a personal psychological impulse, and desire to harness the therapeutic and self affirming powers of repetition. Creating a mesmerically shimmering surface of heat and dynamism, Infinity Nets (HOAWD) challenges the relation between background and foreground, as the familiar dots materialise through a reverse process. A vista of golden yellow pigments are overridden and encircled by a web of looping red-orange nets. Combining a sense of randomness and uniformity, Kusama channels aesthetic intuition to find beauty in a peculiarly ordered chaos. Inexplicably organic yet adhering to an unintelligible system of logic that binds micro elements to a wider network, the infinity nets present a visually arresting and philosophically profound metaphor for the bonds of relations that constitute the universe.

    Kusama is a truly original artist who has constantly evaded categorisation through a varied practice that encompasses painting, sculpture, film, literature, performance and installation art. Whilst earlier works created in her native Japan were viewed through a surrealist lens, in 1960s Europe and America she shared group exhibitions with Pop artists and even members of the ZERO movement. Kusama has both responded to and influenced movements whilst ultimately maintaining her unique and revolutionary vision. At her very first solo exhibition at the Brata Gallery in New York, Kusama presented a group of white Infinity Nets, offering her bold challenge to the trends of Abstract Expressionism that dominated the city at the time. Evident still in the present work, Kusama’s creation of a delicate and minimal membrane of kinetic brushwork seeks to overthrow the machismo explosions of paint championed by superstar American painters such as Jackson Pollock. Kusama presents a genuine and considered web of subjectivity that is based on an intuitive understanding and connection between painter and canvas.

    The Infinity Nets also carry great personal importance for Kusama, having started the series at a time of hardship, feeling alienated in a new environment. She has recalled: ‘Day after day I forgot my coldness and hunger by painting’ (Yayoi Kusama, quoted in ‘Kusama Dot Com’, New York Times Style Magazine, 24 February 2008). Most crucially, over the subsequent five decades the Infinity Nets have provided psychological respite and a form of personal therapy to combat the episodes of neurosis and hallucinatory visions she has suffered with since childhood – traumas of growing up in wartime Japan. The artist has recounted: “Unable to sleep, I would get out of bed and paint. […] I would cover a canvas with nets, then continue painting them on the table, on the floor, and finally on my own body. As I repeated this process over and over again, the nets began to expand to infinity. I forgot about myself as they enveloped me, clinging to my arms and legs and clothes and filling the entire room” (Yayoi Kusama, trans. Ralph McCarthy, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London 2011, pp. 17-18, and p. 20).

    Binding the micro, macro and metaphysical, Infinity Nets simultaneously conjures the microscopic cells that make up all matter, the infinity of an intimately connected universe, and a personal “obsession” that the artist has described as “the passionate accretion and repetition inside of me” (Yayoi Kusama, 'Interview with Gordon Brown (1965)' in Yayoi Kusama: In Infinity, London, 2015, p. 11). Through paintings such as Infinity Nets (HOAWD) Kusama offers a hypnotically captivating metaphor that positions the individual within the wider web of life. Now an enduring moment in art history, they articulate individual subjectivity in an unstable and immeasurable environment: “One polka dot: a single particle among billions” (Yayoi Kusama quoted in, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London, 2011 p.23).

  • Catalogue Essay

    草間彌生在1958年,抵達紐約不久後,開始創作她最具代表性且歷久彌新的「無限網」系列繪畫。呈現於此的《無限之網(HOAWD)》是草間彌生在開創「無限網」系列近乎半個世紀後,在2014年所作,作品充分展現了她發展至爐火純青的藝術語彙,可見她對於抽象藝術歷史獨特和開創性的貢獻。為了挑戰美國六零年代,男性主導的藝術世界中的虛張聲勢之霸權,草間彌生開創了概念性超凡的「無限網」系列。「無限網」源自於草間彌生個人的心理躁動,並渴望透過重複性的力量,得到療癒和自我肯定的渴望。《無限之網(HOAWD)》創造了一個充滿熱度和活力的閃爍畫面,挑戰背景和前景之間的關係,通過畫中的網線,我們反而看到的熟悉的草間圓點。金黃色顏料的景色被覆蓋並被一圈圈環形紅橙色網圍繞著。草間彌生結合了隨機感和一絲不苟的秩序,用自己的美學直覺,在亂中有序裡尋覓美麗。草間彌生的創作手法看似偶發又充滿有機能量,實則循著一種難以掌握的邏輯,系統性的將微小元素結合成網,用強烈的視覺性,引喻人事物互相連結而構成宇宙的深遠哲學。

    草間彌生是一位真正獨創的藝術家,從繪畫、雕塑、電影、寫作、行為到裝置藝術不斷流轉,多元化的藝術形式讓外界無法歸類她的藝術。草間彌生早期在日本創作的作品,看得見超寫實主義的影子,但是到了六零年代,她的作品已經蛻變到能與歐美的普普和零派藝術家相抗衡。草間彌生受到當時的藝術運動所影響,也深深影響了當時的藝術運動,但是始終保有自己獨到的、完全創新的藝術眼光。在紐約的布拉塔畫廊,她生平第一場個展中,草間彌生展出了一系列白色「無限網」,大膽挑戰當時充斥紐約的抽象表現主義。這樣的無畏精神在呈現於此的拍品中依然清楚可見,草間彌生用精細的筆觸創造一片動態的網狀薄膜,企圖推翻如傑克遜·波洛克等美國巨星藝術家,其所提倡之陽剛的、爆發式的用色和技法。草間彌生之所以能創造出此等真誠和縝密的主觀之網,是基於畫家和畫布之間的直觀理解和關聯。

    草間彌生身在陌生國度,備感寂寞困頓時,開始創作「無限網」,因此,此系列畫作對她而言有種更個人化的意涵。草間彌生回想當年說道,「日復一日,我在繪畫時遺忘現實的飢寒交迫。」(節錄自Kusama Dot Com’,New York Times Style Magazine,2008年2月24日)最重要的是,在接下來的五十年內,「無限網」成了草間彌生的精神寄託;她在戰亂不停的年代成長,從小受到精神疾病和幻覺的摧殘,而藝術是她唯一的避風港。草間彌生曾說,「只要半夜睡不著,我就爬起來畫畫。……畫布被畫滿之後,我在桌子上、地上,甚至在自己身上繼續畫網、不斷重複。隨著網子無限地延伸,覆蓋我的身體、衣服和房間,我也漸漸忘了我。」(節錄自《無限之網:草間彌生自傳》,草間彌生著,萊爾夫·麥卡錫譯,2011年出版於倫敦,第17-18頁、20頁)

    「無限網」將微觀的、宏觀的和形而上的觀念和意識互相聯結,同時想像出構成生命基本單位的細胞、宇宙涵蓋的無限關聯,和草間彌生的執迷;她將這份執迷形容為「我體內重複堆積的熱情。」(節錄自「1995年草間彌生與高登・布朗的訪談」,《草間彌生: 在無限之間》,2015年出版於倫敦,第11頁)透過《無限之網(HOAWD)》等系列作品,草間彌生提供一個讓觀者能置身於生命之網中的意境。她的創作不斷在藝術歷史中,訴說個人主觀是如何在不停轉變且深不可測的環境中生存。「一個圓點,代表億萬個分子中的一個。」(節錄自《無限之網:草間彌生自傳》,草間彌生著,萊爾夫·麥卡錫譯,2011年出版於倫敦,第23頁)

  • Artist Bio

    Yayoi Kusama

    Japanese • 1929

    Named "the world's most popular artist" in 2015, it's not hard to see why Yayoi Kusama continues to dazzle contemporary art audiences globally. From her signature polka dots—"fabulous," she calls them—to her mirror-and-light Infinity Rooms, Kusama's multi-dimensional practice of making art elevates the experience of immersion. To neatly pin an artistic movement onto Kusama would be for naught: She melds and transcends the aesthetics and theories of many late twentieth century movements, including Pop Art and Minimalism, without ever taking a singular path. 

    As an octogenarian who still lives—somewhat famously—in a psychiatric institution in Tokyo and steadfastly paints in her immaculate studio every day, Kusama honed her punchy cosmic style in New York City in the 1960s. During this period, she staged avant-garde happenings, which eventually thrust her onto the international stage with a series of groundbreaking exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in the 1980s and the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993. She continues to churn out paintings and installations at inspiring speed, exhibiting internationally in nearly every corner of the globe, and maintains a commanding presence on the primary market and at auction. 

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Property of an Important European Collector

Infinity Nets (HOAWD)

2014
titled, signed and dated '"HOAWD INFINITY-NETS" YAYOI KUSAMA 2014' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
97.2 x 130.2 cm. (38 1/4 x 51 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2014, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the Yayoi Kusama Studio.

Estimate
HK$4,500,000 - 6,500,000 
€484,000-699,000
$577,000-833,000

Contact Specialist
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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2018