Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
9 More
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
12 More
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)

Infinity-Nets (QPOW)

Details
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
Infinity-Nets (QPOW)
signed, titled in English and Japanese and dated 'Yayoi Kusama 2006 INFINITY-NETS QPOW' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
35 7/8 x 28 5/8 in. (91.1 x 72.7 cm.)
Painted in 2006.
Provenance
MOMA Contemporary, Fukuoka, Japan
Art Consultancy Limited, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2007

Brought to you by

Isabella Lauria
Isabella Lauria

Lot 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 always standing at the center of the obsession, over the passionate accretion and repetition inside of me. - Yayoi Kusama

Covered in a delicate lattice of small semi-circles, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets (QPOW) is an outstanding example of her white infinity nets paintings. Sleek white hoops link boundlessly across an underlying wash of grey-blue, giving the impression of a finely-woven net having been lain across a dark glossy pool. The emanating darkness below the surface beckons the viewer closer, inviting us to consider each individual brush stroke even as they knit together in breathtaking symphony. The work rises and falls as the artist varies her strokes, some applied so translucently that the grey-blue wash seeps through, creating patches of shadowy blue tone that pulls the paint deep into the canvas. In the next breath, paint is applied in globular strokes, building thick crests of milky white impasto peaks that push brightly out into the fore. The hypnotic strokes that roll across the surface of the canvas envelop the viewer, completely consuming the surface of the work to encourage a quiet sense of introspection and meditation.
Kusama first explored the infinity nets in the 1950s and '60s, just after moving to New York from her native Japan. In the artist’s own words: “I debuted in New York with just five works - monochromatic and simple, yet complex, subconscious accumulations of microcosmic lights, in which the spatial universe unfolds as far as the eye can see. Yet at first glance the canvases, which were up to 14ft in length, looked like nothing at all - just plain white surfaces" (Y. Kusama, quoted in a press statement for Yayoi Kusama: White Infinity Nets exhibition at Victoria Miro, 2013, London). White, the primary and historical color choice for the net paintings, softly blends into the wall, the paintings winking in and out like ethereal beings, and suggesting the paintings’ expansive nature beyond the limitations of the canvas. In this sense, the infinitive reach of the nets transcends into the farthest points of space.
After this New York debut, Kusama would return to the white infinity nets nearly half a century later at the turn of the millennium, suggesting the importance of the nets to the artist and her identity, and well as their appealing timelessness. In the interim, Kusama, with signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder and hallucinations since childhood, had returned to Japan and spent time at a psychiatric center, where she still resides to this day. The meticulous process of painting each link of the net offered the artist an alluring and grounding reprieve, during which Kusama was known to paint for sessions of 40 to 50 hours straight, foregoing sleeping or eating while lost in the hypnotic and repetitive motion of the work. The artist’s working method is captured by her work, each individual hoop an invitation to reflect on the wider picture. The cognitive jump between part and whole is established from the very first stroke, after which the artist loses the ability to alter or change the composition so as to uphold its uniform effect.
Kusama’s deeply personal relation to her infinity net paintings, requiring an enduring strength in painting sessions which stretched several days, are once again revisited at the height of Kusama’s international and popular success. Her wide-ranging contributions to 20th century art, from site specific installations to immersive experiences willfully consumed by the digital space, are colorful and whimsical creations which lend themselves readily to the worlds of fashion and film. The return to the infinity nets, and their quiet monochromatic, psychological power, represents the artist’s unrelenting consideration of the infinity of the universe in the face of her often-isolated construction of the work. In the artist’s own words: “This was my epic, summing up all I was...And the spell of the dots and the mesh enfolded me in a magical curtain of mysterious, invisible power” (Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Nets, London, 2011, p. 23).
;

More from Post-War to Present

View All
View All