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YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
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YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)

Nets-Infinity (OPQA)

Details
YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
Nets-Infinity (OPQA)
signed, titled in English and Japanese and dated 'NETS-INFINITY Yayoi Kusama OPQA 2004' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
51 3/8 x 38 ¼ in. (130.3 x 97.2 cm.)
Painted in 2004.
Provenance
Ota Fine Arts, Japan
Alan Koppel Gallery, Chicago
Private collection, 2007
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 15 May 2014, lot 218
Private collection, Switzerland
Acquired from the above by the present owner
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Rachael White Young
Rachael White Young Associate Vice President, Specialist, Co-Head of Day Sale

Lot essay

One day, looking at a red flower-patterned table cloth 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 absolute space. This was not an illusion but reality.”

Yayoi Kusama

Nets-Infinity (OPQA) is a vivid and fantastic example of Yayoi Kusama’s career-defining ‘infinity net’ paintings. With no definitive beginning or end to the composition, these iconic paintings are a dizzying journey into the infinite. The present painting, executed in 2004 with a palate of gold and fluorescent green, undulates with movement. The artist’s looping brush strokes ebb and flow across the canvas, creating a rising and falling effect like the ocean tide. The work is underpinned by an emotional intensity contained within the Kusama’s obsessive practice. In feats of remarkable stamina and focus, Kusama is known to labor for hours over her works to the point of exhaustion, meticulously repeating her looping brushstrokes in order to create the net’s rippling effect. The process of painting becomes an all-consuming, almost spiritual experience, the world distilled to one simple form.


Beginning at a single point on the canvas, Kusama applies her brushstrokes without any guidelines for the composition. The patterns produced by her close working often only revealing themselves only after she has stood back from the painting. Because Kusama works so intently, the density of the individual loops changes over time as her brush runs dry of paint. This results in a surface that is rich in both visual and textural variety, and in which the artist’s technical skill and physical and mental stamina are very much on display

Kusama describes the inspiration behind her Infinity Net series as the hallucinatory visions the artist has experience since the age of 10 during which various patterns appear on everything within her field of vision. “One day, looking at a red flower-patterned table cloth 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 absolute space. This was not an illusion but reality.” (Y. Kusama, quoted in L. Hoptman, et al., Yayoi Kusama, London 2000, pp. 35-36).

Nets-Infinity (OPQA) is remarkable among the infinity net series for it’s thickly painted surface, and for the subtle changes in direction that are made by the schools of brushstrokes. These two effects combine to create a shimmering, undulant paint surface. Mirroring the quiet repetition that went into its making, Nets-Infinity (OPQA) stimulates introspection and transcendence, and draws its viewers into a meditative state.


Lot Essay Header Image: Present lot illustrated (detail).

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