Yayoi Kusama - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, March 7, 2017 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    OTA Fine Arts, Tokyo
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    ‘My nets grew beyond myself and beyond the canvases I was covering with them. They began to cover the walls, the ceiling, and finally the whole universe. I was standing at the centre of obsession’ (Yayoi Kusama in conversation with Gordon Brown in ed. Laura Hoptman, Yayoi Kusama, London 2000, p. 103).

    The sheer grandeur of Yayoi Kusama’s canvas is overwhelming. The scale of the work combined with its intricate detail has an arresting impact, implicating the viewer both physically and psychologically. From a distance the painting initially appears to be monochromatic but upon closer examination sumptuous interweaving tones of deep red and gold emerge. Kusama has explored the limits of these colours throughout her career, creating sumptuous fiery landscapes which provoke our perception and challenge the underpinnings of abstraction and craftwork. The all-encompassing pattern of iconic polka dots which covers the surface of Infinity Nets is formed by a reverse process, in which the artist paints swirling nets over a base colour, in this case a shimmering gold. Kusama’s unique technique establishes layers of textural complexity, adding depth and intricacy reminiscent of regal finery and lace. This attention to detail combined with the artist’s monumental vision serves to simultaneously evoke infinite cosmologies and the minutiae of individual cells. Kusama embraces the paradoxical elements inherent in her paintings and sees both herself and the universe within them: ‘I wanted to examine the single dot that was my own life. One polka dot: a single particle among billions’ (Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London, 2011 p.23).

    The Infinity Nets are the pre-eminent series of the artist’s life and career. Kusama presented a group of white Infinity Nets at her first solo exhibition at the Brata Gallery in New York in 1958, and has compulsively returned to them for over half a century since. They are an emblematic and deeply personal set of arts, configured as a symptom of Kusama’s neurosis and the hallucinatory visions she suffered growing up in wartime Japan. The artist highlights the paramount importance of the process of painting, describing the obsessive manner in which she creates her ever-expanding nets across huge canvases, sculptures and even bodies, paying no attention to the outside world. ‘Day after day I forgot my coldness and hunger by painting’ (Yayoi Kusama, quoted in ‘Kusama Dot Com’, New York Times Style Magazine, 24 February 2008).

    Infinity Nets is therefore able to render the incomprehensible imaginable, offering a direct window into the artist’s psyche. Executed in 2004, it stands as an archetypal example of Kusama’s oeuvre-defining series and enables us to examine the development of her signature style.

  • 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 (BSGK)

titled, signed and dated '"INFINITY NETS (BSGK)" YAYOI KUSAMA 2015'
acrylic on canvas
162 x 162 cm (63 3/4 x 63 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2015. This work is registered with the Yayoi Kusama Studio under number No. 2576.

£300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for £605,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT