Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Sunday, May 8, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo
    Victoria Miro, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    London, Victoria Miro, Yayoi Kusama, October 10 - November 17, 2007

  • Catalogue Essay

    Yayoi Kusama’s INFINITY-NETS (QRTWE) from 2007 stands as a stunning example of her most iconic series. Rendered in white and light blue, the twisting pattern of her brushstroke envelopes the entire canvas; biomorphic shapes come in and out of focus creating an optically absorbing composition. Kusama's net motif emerged in the 1960’s and has been established as her most celebrated series. Kusama relocated to New York from Japan in the 1950’s and witnessed the emergence of Pop and Minimalism. For Kusama, Japan represented an oppressive force, “the land, the shackles, the conventions, the prejudice,” she explains, “for art like mine – art that does battle at the boundary between life and death, questioning what we are and what it means to live and die – this country was too small, too servile, too feudalistic, and too scornful of women. My art needed a more unlimited freedom, and a wider world.”(Yayoi Kusama in Mignon Nixon, “Infinity Politics,” Yayoi Kusama, Tate Modern, London, 2012, p. 177)

    Kusama’s net paintings prove that New York provided her with the artistic freedom she so desperately sought. The finely formed nets stretch across the surface of her paintings, their vastness takes a turn towards the natural, visually referencing the cosmos, cells or atoms. Her organic shapes emerge as floating membranes, sitting delicately upon the surface of the canvas. The large format of the present lot fully envelops the viewer. Lost in a trance like state, the nets present the viewer with a contemplative visual void upon which to meditate. Inspired by her own hallucinatory visions, Kusama explains “My nets grew beyond myself and beyond the canvases I was covering with them…..They began to cover the walls, the ceiling, and finally the whole universe. I was always standing at the center of the obsession, over the passionate accretion and repetition inside of me.” (Yayoi Kusama in Udo Kultermann, Yayoi Kusama, New York 2000, p. 103) The creation of the nets is a long and laborious process, hour after hour Kusama loses herself within her practice. Pulsating, the nets fan out in a methodical, yet compulsory manner. INFINITY-NETS (QRTWE) presents two competing obsessions, the comforting confinement of repetition and reckless indulgence of losing control. As Kusama explains, “My room, my body, the entire universe was filled with [patterns]……myself was eliminated, and I had returned and been reduced to the infinity of eternal time and the absolute of space. This was not an illusion but reality.” (Yayoi Kusama in Udo Kultermann, Yayoi Kusama, New York, 2000, p. 36)

  • Artist Biography

    Yayoi Kusama


    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.

    View More Works

Property from a Prominent European Collection

Ο ◆24


acrylic on canvas
76 3/8 x 101 7/8 in. (194 x 259 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "Yayoi Kusama 2007 INFINITY-NETS QRTWE" on the reverse.

$2,000,000 - 3,000,000 

Sold for $2,045,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 May 2016