A way to share and manage lots.
Gagosian Gallery, New York
Phillips, New York, Contemporary Art Evening, 10 May 2012, lot 22
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
New York, Gagosian Gallery, Yayoi Kusama, Steven Parrino, Anselm Reyle, 13 March-19 April, 2008
Infinity Nets OPQR, 2007 captures the dynamic energy and elegiac complexity so present in Yayoi Kusama’s expansive and diverse artistic oeuvre. The present lot is from her most celebrated series of paintings, Infinity Nets, a series she first produced and exhibited in 1959 at Brata Gallery in New York. Diagnosed with an obsessional neurosis, Kusama utilised the monochrome genre of her contemporaries into an intricate and innovative means for communicating her psychological state.
Kusama has noted, ‘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 centre of the obsession, over the passionate accretion and repetition inside of me.’ (Y. Kusama interview by G. Brown, 1964 in: L. Hoptman, Yayoi Kusama, London 2000, p. 103). Her Infinity Nets increasingly became a source of inspiration to a generation of emerging New York Minimalists including Donald Judd and Frank Stella. Even further, the obsessive nature of the repetition of form extends to fellow female artist Agnes Martin, through their style, radically different.
From a distance, Infinity Nets OPQR appears simply monochrome, yet upon closer inspection, the piece willingly displays the process of its creation, making unmistakably apparent the obsessive persistence and meticulousness with which it was made. A palette of white and grey paint is applied with individual gestures of semi-circular forms that combine to form a net that curves in the same direction, while progressively shifting in different ones. The work appears simultaneously complex yet simple, and ordered, yet disordered. Kusama described that her hallucinations often meant that she felt depersonalised and detached from reality. This is reflected in her paintings, when, long before the Minimalist aesthetic was being recognised, Kusama was already blurring the lines between art and life by creating works that demanded the viewer’s participation. The waves in Infinity Nets OPQR appear before us like a living and endless entity, as though they were making their way beyond the picture plane into the unknown. Darker tones of grey paint have been applied onto the canvas in order for to suggest depth, giving it illusion of movement between the networked waves. The sensation of movement is further accentuated by the thick layers of paint which give the overall canvas a three dimensionality.
Infinity Nets OPQR is a captivating work that encapsulates the artist’s personal mythology. Although known to work in a serial manner, Kusama’s consistent revisiting to the Infinity Nets over the last six decades highlights her continual involvement to the recurring motif, which appears to be at the core of her artistry and person.
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.
London Auction 9 February 2016 7pm