Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Wednesday, November 16, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    OTA FINE ARTS, Tokyo
    Gagosian Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • 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." Yayoi Kusama

    Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets OZEH, 2011, is covered with a fine net of swirling scallops. This delicate composition is at the center of Kusama’s practice and the present lot, of an impression scale seems to merge into the wall upon which it is displayed allowing the white pattern to slip off the canvas. Across the surface is a mesmerizing blanket of peaks and valleys, engulfing the viewer into the same meditative state as the artist who carefully applied the white pigment. Painted in 2011, Infinity Nets OZEH draws upon the groundbreaking series of Kusama’s Infinity Nets, her most iconic series.

    Kusama traces her renowned style back to her childhood, when she first noticed her obsessive nature and her experiences of hallucinations. As Kusama recalled, “When I was a child, one day I was walking in the field, then all of a sudden, the sky became bright over the mountains, and I saw clearly the very image I was about to paint appear in the sky. I also saw violets, which I was painting, multiply to cover the doors, windows and even my body….I immediately transferred the idea onto a canvas. (Yayoi Kusama in “Damien Hirst Questions Yayoi Kusama, Across the Water, May, 1998,” Kusama: Now, exh. cat., Robert Miller Gallery, New York, 1998, p. 15) In her 20’s, Kusama arrived in New York from Japan with her collection of small still lifes, portraits and natural scenes which incorporated unique patterns of polka dots. New York was at the peak of Abstract Expressionism and Kusama embraced the scene around her. Her newly developed polka dot and infinity net patterns made reference to her academic training in Japanese nihonga painting, yet the vibrating nature of her patterns call upon the rhythmic sounds and movement of downtown New York City. Kusama finds the process of painting a very healing activity, allowing the delicate handwork to soothe her and the calming white tone, which can be found in the present lot, to de-clutter her mind. Kusama explained; “myself was eliminated, and I had returned and been reduced to the infinity of eternal time and the absolute of space. This was not an allusion but reality.” (Yayoi Kusama in Yayoi Kusama, New York, 2000, p. 36) Applying small circles of white paint in perpetuity, Kusama painstakingly fills the large horizontal canvas of the present lot and exposes two contradictory attitudes, the controlling aspect of repetition and the liberating effects of losing control.

  • 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 nonagenarian who still lives in Tokyo and steadfastly paints in her 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 (OZEH)

signed, titled and dated "OZEH INFINITY NETS YAYOI KUSAMA 2011" on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
76 3/8 x 102 in. (194 x 259.1 cm)
Painted in 2011.

$1,500,000 - 2,000,000 

Sold for $1,810,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 16 November 5 PM EST