Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets pieces consist of hypnotic networks of intersecting lines or dots which are the result of exhausting and uninterrupted painting sessions of 40 to 50 hours. These visually captivating patterns are an indecipherable map into the artist’s mind, a compellingly beautiful graphic depiction of her obsessions, of the intricacy of her most haunting feelings and thoughts.

     

    The Japanese artist began to paint her Infinity Nets series after moving to New York in 1958. At 10 years old, Kusama started to experience vivid hallucinations, which she describes as auras, flashes of light and dots. These visions have regularly accompanied her since that first hallucinatory episode. The act of painting is the artist’s own way to exorcise and take control of these overwhelming abstract perceptions by rendering them tangible, and therefore exercising a form of agency over them.

     

    As stated by the artist, her creative drive has saved her life and allowed her to let out the immensity of her inner world: '[m]y imagination is beyond what people think. It is infinite. I could paint directly without any design and I never suffered from a shortage of ideas to present the human’s profound presence. This creativity is the big hope to live my life. I am very grateful that this kind of philosophy had been well accepted and evaluated throughout my career'. i

     

    This 1990 version of Infinity Nets is made of angular red lines against a white background which crisscross and form patterns that resemble diamond shapes. When observed in combination, these converging threads could remind one of edgy stars or geometrical flowers. The repetition of colours and shapes in Kusama’s Infinity Nets can be fruitfully compared to Paul Klee’s Magic Squares series, which grew out of a visit to Tunisia – and an appreciation for its mosaics – in 1914. In particular, the rhomboidal shapes of the Japanese artist’s 1990 piece evoke the purposefully imperfect red-toned rhombi and the quadrate outlines of Klee’s Castle and Sun (1928).

     

    Paul Klee, Castle and Sun, 1928
    Image: Bridgeman Images

     Yayoi Kusama, one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary artists, was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, and trained at the Kyoto City University of Arts. After moving to the United States in 1958, she became a leading member of the New York avant-garde art scene. She returned to Japan in the 1970s, choosing to reside in a mental health facility and work in a studio nearby the clinic. A retrospective of the artist’s work was on view at Gropius Bau, Berlin, in 2021, and at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2022. The M+ Museum in Hong Kong is currently hosting Yayoi Kusama: From 1945 to Now, an exhibition which explores the evolution of the artist’s work over the past seven decades.

     

     

    i Yayoi Kusama in “Cosmic Play: An Interview with Yayoi Kusama” in Sleek, 6 August 2014, online.

    • Provenance

      Apollo Gallery, Tokyo
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2008

    • Artist Biography

      Yayoi Kusama

      Japanese

      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

134

Infinity Nets

signed, titled and dated 'Yayoi Kusama 1990 "Infinity Nets"' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
54.1 x 45.4 cm. (21 1/4 x 17 7/8 in.)
Painted in 1990, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$2,400,000 - 3,400,000 
€278,000-394,000
$308,000-436,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027
danielleso@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 31 March 2023