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

Infinity-Nets (GKT)

Details
YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
Infinity-Nets (GKT)
signed, titled and dated 'GKT YAYOI KUSAMA 2015 INFINITY-NETS' (on the reverse)
acrylic on canvas
57 3⁄8 x 44 1⁄8in. (145.5 x 112cm.)
Painted in 2015
Provenance
Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo.
David Zwirner, New York.
Private Collection, United Kingdom.
Helwaser Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2017.
Special notice
Where Christie’s has provided a Minimum Price Guarantee it is at risk of making a loss, which can be significant, if the lot fails to sell. Christie’s therefore sometimes chooses to share that risk with a third party. In such cases the third party agrees prior to the auction to place an irrevocable written bid on the lot. The third party is therefore committed to bidding on the lot and, even if there are no other bids, buying the lot at the level of the written bid unless there are any higher bids. In doing so, the third party takes on all or part of the risk of the lot not being sold. If the lot is not sold, the third party may incur a loss. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Further details
This work is accompanied by a registration card issued by Yayoi Kusama Inc.

Brought to you by

Tessa Lord
Tessa Lord Director, Senior Specialist

Lot Essay

A blazing constellation of red dots bound together by an intricate painterly web, the present work is a vivid example of Yayoi Kusama’s celebrated Infinity Nets. Wrought from delicate skeins of impasto, the surface confronts the viewer as a shimmering optical matrix of lines and apertures, seemingly endless in its luminous depths. Begun in earnest following her move to New York in the late 1950s, Kusama’s Infinity Nets represent the cornerstone of her practice. Though conversant with the aesthetics of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism that dominated the art world during that period, they occupied a uniquely personal territory, representing the manifestation of hallucinations that had haunted the artist since childhood. In these visions, dots, flowers and nets would proliferate indefinitely over her body and surroundings: ‘in that instant my soul was obliterated and I was restored, returned to infinity, to eternal time and absolute space’, she recalled (Y. Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London 2011, n.p.). Kusama’s first ever hallucination, notably, was dominated by the colour red, lending the present work a poignant retrospective quality. 

Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama found solace in art-making during a troubled and emotionally turbulent childhood. Following the Second World War—during which time she worked long and gruelling hours in a parachute factory—she persuaded her family to allow her to attend art school in Kyoto. As she began to broaden her horizons beyond Japanese art, looking to the European and American avant-garde, Kusama began to translate her childhood hallucinations into painting, creating vast fields of dots that covered walls, floors, objects and canvases. It was following her move to New York, however, that her Infinity Nets began to accumulate in earnest: having exhibited these works for the first time in 1959, she began to work on them relentlessly over the course of the following decade, often for up to several days without a break. The painstaking, labour-intensive repetition required to render the nets by hand provided temporary relief from the psychological hardships that continued to plague her. Kusama would later commit herself permanently to a psychiatric institution, where the Infinity Nets continued to dominate her practice: the present work, executed in 2015, quivers with the same vitality and obsession that characterised her early paintings.

Kusama’s Infinity Nets originally took their place within the context of the New York art world during the 1960s. There, they evoked the all-over surfaces of artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, as well as burgeoning aesthetics of Minimalism: Donald Judd, who later became close friends with Kusama, was among the first to write about them. More broadly, their elemental qualities seemed to align them with the works of artists such as Lucio Fontana and Yves Klein, both of whom Kusama exhibited alongside. Despite the rhetoric of infinity that simmered among these circles, however, for Kusama it remained a deeply personal concept. In her eyes, it was less about mysticism or the cosmos than about the dissolution of the individual: an idea that would saturate her mirror installations, pumpkin fields and many other aspects of her oeuvre. In her hallucinations, Kusama had relished the sensation of self-elimination, in which the cruelties of the physical world were vanquished: in the concentrated, meditative process of painting her sprawling nets, she experienced a similar sense of sublimation. Standing before the present work, the viewer is invited to immerse themselves in Kusama’s interior world—a space of radiant immaterial bliss, whose glowing red embers stretch eternally into the beyond.  

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