Captive Doll

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Tokyo
    Mainichi Auction, Tokyo, 21 October 2017, Lot 221
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Captive Doll is an exceedingly rare and sentimental work from the year 1988, produced nearly two decades after Yayoi Kusama returned to her native Japan. Created in plastic and metal, and painted entirely in fuchsia, the present work features a seated, hatted doll surrounded by amorphous, bird-like shapes. Captive Doll was created more than a decade after the artist’s voluntary hospitalisation upon returning to Japan in the late seventies: a move which precipitated a change in the artist’s approach to art creation. Adjusting to her new living quarters and setting up a new studio within the medical faculty, Kusama set to work, returning to sculpture making by hand, creating some small objects, others which could be combined to become largescale pieces. It was during this time that the artist produced stuffed fabric works painstakingly sewn together by hand, some encased in boxes, and later moving on to works such as the present lot. The incorporation of boxes moreover--and in the present case a birdcage—immediately calls to mind Kusama drawing inspiration from her dear late friend Joseph Cornell, a person to whom she paid homage upon her return to Japan in the late seventies. It is also curious to note the interrelationship between Kusama’s soft sculptures and the doll featured in Captive Doll—a doll being a figurine typically ‘stuffed’, the artist has rendered hers deliberately rigid, encased in a cage. It is easy to draw a self-referential conclusion when approaching this piece: a thinly veiled symbol for the contained environment the artist newly found herself in perhaps, but more so a fervent jolt of positivity and new life as captured by the bright pastel hue of Captive Doll—a colour which undoubtedly matched the jubilant years leading to Kusama’s shot to stardom in the years to follow.

  • Catalogue Essay

    《被俘玩偶》創作於1988年,當時正值草間彌生搬回祖國日本將近二十年後的時光,是一件極為罕見並深具感性價值的作品。此件作品由塑料及金屬材質所組成,粉紅色顏料覆蓋了整體。籠中坐著一個戴帽的人偶,周圍繞著看似鳥類、卻無以名狀的形體。草間彌生於七十年代晚期自願住進精神病院,《被俘玩偶》約是十多年後所創作的。住院這個舉動,也促使她在藝術創作方式上產生一些變化。為了適應新的生活環境,草間將新工作室設立在醫院內,她因此重返以手製雕塑的創作方式,做出尺寸較小的物件,或是爾後透過組合而成較大作品。這段期間,藝術家常以親手縫製布料,並填充於其中,有些放置在盒中,有些則像本件作品這般,透過與其他元素重組而成。此外,盒子這樣的概念使用,像是此作中的鳥籠意象,即刻讓人聯想起草間彌生過世的摯友約瑟夫・康奈爾,以其作為創作靈感。因為她在七十年代末回到日本後,即曾創作過向康奈爾致敬示意的作品。另外,草間的軟雕塑與《被俘玩偶》中的人偶,也存在這饒富意趣的相互關係。她刻意將玩偶形體作得很滿,以近乎生硬的姿態,被囚禁在冷酷的籠中。這也許也不難解讀出草間在作品中的自我投射,微微隱喻著她當下自覺所處在一個禁錮的新環境,但她卻令人驚喜地了使用了充滿正面力量及代表新生意象的光鮮粉彩色調,似乎也巧妙告示了草間彌生在此之後藝術生涯令人雀躍、再攀高峰的發展。

  • 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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Captive Doll

1988
signed, titled and dated 'YAYOI KUSAMA 1988 "Captive Doll [in Japanese]"' on the underside
mixed media
36 x 22 x 28 cm. (14 1/8 x 8 5/8 x 11 in.)
Executed in 1988, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio.

Estimate
HK$600,000 - 800,000 
€68,500-91,300
$76,900-103,000

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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