Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction Hong Kong Sunday, June 6, 2021 | Phillips

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  • “I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to Heaven, and I will look down on my beautiful life.”Yayoi Kusama

    Born into a family of merchants who owned a plant nursery and seed farm, Yayoi Kusama’s childhood was surrounded by naturalistic imagery. This influence from her childhood is reflected in Path to the Future, which features anthropomorphic shapes that are a unique fusion of the dot, the net, and the phallus . Suggesting a microscopic world teeming with life, this colourful and all encompassing juxtaposition of complementary colours is meticulously and purposefully painted in clean, flat edges that offer the viewer a window into Kusama’s colourful imagination.


    Painted in 1988, Kusama’s works from this time period often bear titles that emphasise the metaphorical . Path to the Future, both in name and in artistic language, is a strikingly optimistic turn towards an increasingly positive outlook on life for Kusama. The stability and artistic expression that Kusama found after checking herself permanently into Seiwa hospital and painting in a nearby studio also coincided with a steady increase in appreciation for her work, not only in Japan but also in the West. Kusama had her first New York retrospective in 1989 at the Centre for International Contemporary Arts. Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective marked a significant revival of American and European interest in the artist’s work, and it was the first time she had shown in the US in over 16 years. Kusama also became the first ever Japanese artist to grace the cover of Art in America that same year.



    • Provenance

      Private Collection
      Christie’s, London, 11 October 2016, lot 68
      Private Collection, Shanghai
      Phillips, Hong Kong, 26 November 2018, lot 13
      Private Collection
      Christie’s, New York, 14 November 2019, lot 852
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • 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.

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Property from an Important Private Collection


Path to the Future

signed, titled and dated 'Yayoi Kusama, "Path to the Future [in Kanji]", 1988' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
45.8 x 52.8 cm. (18 x 20 3/4 in.)
Painted in 1988, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,200,000 - 2,200,000 

Sold for HK$3,528,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 7 June 2021