Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in association with Yongle Hong Kong Thursday, December 1, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Introduction

    “Bring on Picasso, bring on Matisse, bring on anybody! I would stand up to them all with a single polka dot […] I was betting everything on this and raising my revolutionary banner against all of history.”
    — Yayoi Kusama

    Intricate in its execution and instantly arresting, Gold Accumulation (1) is an exquisite example of Kusama’s iconic motif – the polka dot. Accumulated over time, circles of impasto lay atop of one another, varying in degrees of opacity. With some more translucent than others, these dots coalesce into a wave of pattern, coming alive as they breathe and shimmer as if stars under the night sky. These all-encompassing dots form a fluctuating visual field that moves beyond the picture plane, immersing the viewer within a delicate web of pure gold.

     

     

    Detail of the present lot  Image and Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA
    Detail of the present lot 
     

    Painted in 1999, Gold Accumulation (1) marks the apex of a period when a major retrospective of Kusama’s works were shown in New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, solidifying the artist’s international stardom and significance in the contemporary art world. The work was included as one of only two acrylic paintings in Galerie Pierre’s exhibition, Love Explosion: Yayoi Kusama After Ten Thousand Tribulations in Taichung. The exhibition also presented multimedia works by Kusama, including soft sculptures, paintings, and collages. Named after the luxurious colour of gold, the current work bears auspicious meaning, and was the main focal point in Galerie Pierre’s exhibition as a new work at the time.

     

     

    Installation shot of the current work (left) with the artist Taichung, Galerie Pierre, Love Explosion: Yayoi Kusama After Ten Thousand Tribulations, 29 May - 27 June 1999 Image and Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA
    Installation shot of the current work (left) with the artist
    Taichung, Galerie Pierre, Love Explosion: Yayoi Kusama After Ten Thousand Tribulations, 29 May - 27 June 1999
    Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA

     

    Presented in tandem with the largest retrospective of Kusama in Asia (outside Japan) at Hong Kong’s M+ Museum this year, the present work comes to auction for the first time after being cherished by an important Asian collection for more than two decades.

     

     

    Accumulation and Repetition

    “My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe, from my own position in it, with dots — an accumulation of particles forming the negative spaces in the net.”
    — Yayoi Kusama
    As an inverse variation of Kusama’s celebrated Infinity Net paintings, dots and nets are two interchangeable motifs adopted by the artist to negate her neurosis. The artist once said: ‘dots and accumulation of particles forming the negative spaces in the net... I wanted to examine the single dot that was my own life’i. Kusama’s works, such as INFINITY-NETS (GMBKA) and Gold Accumulation (1), both arose from Kusama’s kaleidoscopic neurosis and was further extrapolated and reconfigured into ceaseless art marking. Like both sides of one coin, these two works showcase Kusama’s different artistic interpretations of the infinite.

     

     

    Left: The present lot    Right: Lot X, Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY-NETS (GMBKA), 2013 Phillips Hong Kong Evening Sale, 1 December 2022 Estimate: HKD12,000,000 - 18,000,000 Image and Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA
    Left: The present lot

    Right: Lot 12, Yayoi Kusama, INFINITY-NETS (GMBKA), 2013
    Phillips Hong Kong Evening Sale, 1 December 2022
    Estimate: HKD12,000,000 - 18,000,000

    The Polka-Dot Queen

    “Our earth is only one polka-dot among a million stars in the cosmos. Polka-dots are a way to infinity. […] When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka-dots, we become part of the unity of our environment. I become part of the eternal and we obliterate ourselves in love.”
    — Yayoi Kusama
    As a visual motif, the polka dot evolved from its first appearances in the backgrounds of Kusama’s early drawings, to mirrored spheres in Narcissus Garden (1966) that was installed for the 33rd Venice Biennale, to an infinite pattern that sprawls across pumpkins, clothing, mirror rooms and beyond. As such, Gold Accumulation (1) is an exceptional example that demonstrates part of Kusama’s visual development of the dot motif, created during an early and celebrated period of the artist’s career. Gold Accumulation (1) captures the artist’s obsessional focus on accumulation, repetition, and the infinite – the three pillars that define Kusama’s artistic practice.

     

     

    Lot X, Yayoi Kusama, Red Shoe, 1979 Phillips Hong Kong Day Sale, 30 November 2022 Estimate: HKD3,000,000 - 5,000,000 Image and Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA
    Lot 211, Yayoi Kusama, Red Shoe, 1979
    Phillips Hong Kong Day Sale, 30 November 2022
    Estimate: HKD3,000,000 - 5,000,000

     

    Kusama’s devotion to polka dots can be traced back to a hallucinatory experience when she was ten years old: ‘One day, looking at a red flower-patterned tablecloth on the table, I turned my eyes to the ceiling and saw the same red flower pattern everywhere, even on the window glass and posts. The room, my body, the entire universe was filled with it, my self 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. I was astounded. If I did not get away from there, I would be wrapped up in the spell of the red flowers and lose my life. I ran for the stairs without thinking of anything else. Looking down, I saw the steps fall away one by one, pulling my leg and making me trip and fall from the top of the stairs. I sprained my leg. Dissolving and accumulating, proliferating and separating. A feeling of particles disintegrating and reverberations from an invisible universe…’ii

     

     

    Yayoi Kusama in her Phalli's Field infinity room in 1965 Image: Eikoh Hosoe/Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York Image and Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA
    Yayoi Kusama in her Phalli's Field infinity room in 1965
    Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA

     

    Kusama first arrived in the United States in Seattle, 1957. She then moved to New York in 1958, held her first solo exhibition in 1959. By the mid-60s, the polka dot had already become a trademark of her iconic oeuvre. It was seen across the artist’s various Happenings performances, Infinity Mirror rooms, and on clothing she had designed. By covering her clothes, skin and the surrounding environment entirely, Kusama is able to find self-obliteration, allowing her to return to the natural universe: ‘[...] by covering my entire body with polka dots, then covering the background with polka dots as well, I find self-obliteration. The form disappears and assimilates into the dots, and when that happens, I too am obliterated. The ground -- or the mesh of the net -- is negative, and the polka dots placed upon the ground are positive. The positive and negative become one and consolidate my expression. And that is when I achieve obliteration.’iii

     

    Over the years, Kusama had set up interactive Obliteration Rooms across numerous institutions, where visitors are invited to cover a completely white room with stickers. Over the course of a few weeks, the room is transformed from a white canvas into an explosion of dots, covering every visible surface. These rooms concretise Kusama’s initial hallucinations in their true form, as she further extrapolates the idea of self-obliteration from the canvas and into a third dimension and even fourth dimension, allowing the audience to participate and become a part of her dotty universe.

     

    Yayoi Kusama's interactive Obliteration Room at Tate Modern, 2012

     

    Collector’s Digest

     

    Kusama’s largest retrospective in Asia, Yayoi Kusma: 1945 to Now,〈草間彌生:1945年至今〉is currently on view at the M+ Museum in Hong Kong until 14 May 2023. The exhibition features 3 new works, and over 200 works across various international collections, the M+ collection as well as the artist’s own collection.

     

     

    Yayoi Kusma, Accumulation of Stardust, 2001 Image and Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA
    Yayoi Kusma, Accumulation of Stardust, 2001
    Collection of the Matsumoto Museum of Art
    Artwork: © YAYOI KUSAMA

     

    The artist's exhibition, Every Day I Pray for Love, is also currently ongoing at the Yayoi Kusama Museum, Tokyo from 7 October 2022 - 26 February 2023. Recent notable solo exhibitions include: Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Berlin, Gropius Bau, 15 November 2021 - 23 April 2022; Victoria Miro, London, 4 June - 31 July 2021; Tate Modern, London, 11 May 2020 - 30 September 2022; amongst others.

     

     

    Yayoi Kusma: 1945 to Now,〈草間彌生:1945年至今〉is currently on view at the M+ Museum in Hong Kong

     

    i Yayoi Kusama, quoted in Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London, 2011, p. 23
    ii Laura Hoptman, Akira Tatehata and Udo Kultermann, Yayoi Kusama, London, 2000, p. 35-36
    iii Yayoi Kusama, quoted in Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London, 2011, p. 47

    • Condition Report

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    • Description

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    • Provenance

      Taichung, Galerie Pierre
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Taichung, Galerie Pierre, Love Explosion: Yayoi Kusama After Ten Thousand Tribulations, 29 May - 27 June 1999

    • Artist Biography

      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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PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE ASIAN COLLECTOR

15

Gold Accumulation (1)

signed, titled and dated 'yayoi Kusama 1999 "Gold Accumulation (1)" [in Japanese]' on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
117 x 91 cm. (46 1/8 x 35 7/8 in.)
Painted in 1999, this work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio and a certificate of authenticity issued by Galerie Pierre, Taichung.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$8,000,000 - 12,000,000 
€992,000-1,490,000
$1,030,000-1,540,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2026
[email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in association with Yongle

Hong Kong Auction 1 December 2022