My Soul Goes to the Sky

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo
    Peter Blum Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in 2000)
    Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York (acquired from the above in 2004)
    Castelli Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Barbara Mathes Gallery, Yayoi Kusama: from Here to Infinity, 19 April - 8 June 2007
    New York, James Goodman Gallery, Yayoi Kusama: Paintings, Sculptures and Works on Paper, 21 April - 5 June 2016.

  • Catalogue Essay

    People I've Known, People I've Loved

    Returning to Japan in 1973, depleted by the depression of a declining career in New York due to the changing political climate in America, Yayoi Kusama relocated to Tokyo and was forced to essentially reboot her career. In stark contrast to her wild New York happenings and controversial phallic sculptures, this period of her life became a sombre reflection on grief following the death of her partner and close friend, Joseph Cornell. It was during this time that Kusama began intensively creating collages, acting as a memento mori, examining the transient nature of life and inevitability of death. These reflected her projected persona, a representation of her physical appearance and psyche at the time. Such dark collages may appear at odds with the rest of her body of work, yet like the present lots My Soul Goes to the Sky and Souls of the Earth that Inhabit the Galaxy, they offer a glimpse into an important period in the artist’s life.

    Kusama first met Cornell in 1962 through an art dealer, and the two formed an unlikely bond, a passionate yet platonic relationship, one that lasted many years. Infatuated by her beauty, Cornell began showering her with endless letters and poetry, gifting her with his famously exclusive boxes filled with found objects, pages from old books, pictures of birds and butterflies and dime-store trinkets. Carrying Cornell’s box filled with his own collage materials back to Japan, Kusama began assembling her collages using some of the materials he had left her, as an intimate tribute to her dearest friend. Both works are at once poetic and quietly introspective, hinting at unreachable realms beyond their surfaces.

  • Catalogue Essay

    曾經相識與相愛的生命過客

    草間彌生於1973年回歸日本,此前因美國政治份氛圍轉變而令她在紐約的事業大受打擊,因此重返東京,被迫重新開始她的藝術事業。與其在紐約大鳴大放的瘋狂古怪行徑、創作備受爭議的陽具形雕塑時期全然不同,此階段生活鬱鬱反思,是她的伴侶兼摯友約瑟夫·康奈爾去世後所帶來的悲痛。草間彌生便是在這時開始拼貼創作,如同對死亡的警告,審視生命的短暫與死亡的必然性。這些都反映出她本身,既是她的外表,亦是她的內心。如此陰暗的拼貼與藝術家其他作品看起來似乎不相配,但就像本幅作品《我的靈魂飄上天空》與《生活在銀河系中的地球靈魂》一般,它們都是藝術家各階段生涯中各個重要時期的一種體現。

    草間彌生於1962年透過一名藝術商認識了康奈爾,兩人建立起一種不尋常的結合,既有激情,又是柏拉圖式的關係,並持續了許多年。康奈爾為草間彌生的美貌而癡迷,開始不斷為她寫信作詩,並送予她獨有的盒子,裝著各種拾得物,有古舊書籍中的書頁,有鳥類和蝴蝶的照片,有廉價商店裡的小玩意。帶著裝滿康奈爾自己的拼貼材料的盒子回到日本,草間彌生開始用他留給自己的物件組成新的拼貼作品,作為對她最親愛的朋友之親暱致敬。兩幅作品既詩意滿滿,又靜謐內省,暗示表相背後那無法觸及的境界。

  • 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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My Soul Goes to the Sky

1975
signed and dated 'Yayoi Kusama 1975' lower right; further signed, titled and dated 'Yayoi Kusama [in English and Kanji] 1975 "My Soul Goes to the Sky [in Japanese]"' on the reverse
gouache, pastel and collage on paper
54 x 39.4 cm. (21 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.)
Executed in 1975, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's company.

Estimate
HK$450,000 - 650,000 
€51,300-74,200
$57,700-83,300

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Isaure de Viel Castel
Head of Department, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Day Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 26 May 2019