Yayoi Kusama - Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 10, 2012 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Gagosian Gallery, Yayoi Kusama, Steven Parrino, Anselm Reyle, March 13 – April 19, 2008

  • Catalogue Essay

    I would cover a canvas with nets, then continue painting them on the table, on the floor, and finally on my own body. As I repeated this process over and over again, the nets began to
    expand to infinity. I forgot about myself as they enveloped me, clinging to my arms and legs and clothes and filling the entire room.


    (Yayoi Kusama in Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, Chicago, 2011, p. 20).

    In Infinity Nets OPQR, 2007, an intensely worked illusion fills the entirety of the canvas in a pure and soft palette of whites and grays. The surface collides and collapses as the biomorphic forms pulse inward and outward, extending beyond the boundaries of the composition. Kusama forged her way through the New York art scene in the 1950s with her drive to cover vast canvases with steady, yet insistent tracts of small, thickly painted loops. The present lot, while recently conceived, is a mere window into a six decade long obsession with the motif. No. F, 1959, at the Museum of Modern Art, created nearly five decades earlier, contains the same supple color palette, as well as isotropic loops that fill the canvas. Kusama has rendered infinity, something limitless and unbounded, within the framework of a readymade canvas. However, Infinity Nets OPQR, 2007, is no object, but a living and breathing physical embodiment of both “infinity” and “abstraction,” as if the philosophical queries are performing before us.

    The fine mesh of circular patterns across the canvas offers a direct and sentient encounter with the surface. Nearly a decade before Minimalism’s command, Kusama was already creating an environment that necessitated the spectator’s participation in order to diminish the distinction between art and life. By repeating this single motif, Kusama released painting from the canvas, as the loops dance beyond the overturned edges of the frame. In the present lot, the waves are naturalistic as they arc in and out of the deep waters, leaving variations in the surface as light bounces in and off the creases left in their wake. Thin layers of darker grays are applied to suggest depth, furthering the illusion of endlessly recurring waves. There is something nurturing in the repetitive and soft canvas. There are vast meanings in the surface of the present lot, just as there is an infinite variety of meanings in all things – a view that has remained unchanged since Kusama began painting the Infinity Nets at the age of thirteen.

  • 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


Infinity Nets OPQR

acrylic on canvas
102 x 76 3/8 in. (259.1 x 194 cm)

$550,000 - 750,000 

Sold for $662,500

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

10 May 2012
New York