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Infinity Nets (TWHOQ)

Infinity Nets (TWHOQ)
signed, titled and dated 'Yayoi Kusama 2006 INFINITY NETS TWHOQ' (on the reverse of each panel)
acrylic on canvas (triptych)
each: 194 x 130.3 cm. (76 3/8 x 51 1/4 in.) (3)
overall: 194 x 390.9 cm. (76 3/8 x 153 7/8 in.)
Painted in 2006
Private Collection, Asia
Acquired from the above by the previous owner circa 2013-2015
Christie’s Hong Kong, 25 May 2019, Lot 79
Acquired from the above sale by the current owner

This work is accompanied by a registration card issued by the artist's studio.
Daegu Art Museum, KUSAMA YAYOI. A Dream I Dreamed, exh. cat., Daegu, 2013 (illustrated in colour, pp. 60-61).
Seoul Arts Center, Yayoi Kusama: A Dream I Dreamed, exh. cat., Seoul, 2014 (illustrated, pp. 158-159, 198).
Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, KUSAMA YAYOI. A Dream I Dreamed, exh. cat., Kaoshiung, 2015 (illustrated in colour, pp. 190-191).
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, KUSAMA YAYOI. A Dream I Dreamed, exh. cat., Taichung, 2015 (illustrated in colour, pp. 190-191).
Daegu, Daegu Art Museum, KUSAMA YAYOI. A Dream I Dreamed, July-November 2013. This exhibition later travelled to Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, February-May, 2015 and Taichung, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, June-August, 2015.

Brought to you by

Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Senior Vice President, Deputy Head of Department

Lot Essay

‘My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe, from my own position in it, with dots.’—Yayoi Kusama

During her septuagenarian years, Yayoi Kusama painted the monumental triptych Infinity Nets (TWHOQ) rendered in countless nets, an iconic motif she continues to depict over six decades of her artistic career. Vigorously executed, these glimmering gold loops of pigment create negative spaces around the vermilion dots, forming an undulating net field that mesmerises the infinite expanse of shimmering ocean waves—a sight that fixated in the artist's mind when she first flew to Seattle in 1957.

As a young art student who struggled to make her way into the New York art world, Kusama arrived in New York in 1958 and created the debut Pacific Ocean (1959). This seminal work informed her large white Infinity Nets paintings at her first solo exhibition at Bruta Gallery. The show was unanimously praised and reviewed by artists, collectors, and critics. Sidney Tillim, for example, likened Kusama's Net paintings to Pollock's Shimmering Substance (1946)—a work filled with open loops whirling across the canvas, revealing a profound detachment quality in Kusama's early Nets paintings that amplifies the totality and immensity of the universe. Donald Judd, who later shared a lifelong friendship with Kusama, published a radical review that merited Kusama's originality in responding to the legacies of New York School painters Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Barnett Newman. Judd called her an 'original painter' and praised her works as 'strong, advanced in concept, and realised' (D. Judd, ‘Reviews and previews: new names this month’, ARTnews, October 1959, n. p.).

The infinite, monochrome, all-over aesthetic Kusama developed was original yet current to her contemporaries like Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, and members of the German group ZERO. In 1960, the young Kusama, beside Mark Rothko, was invited to a group exhibition Monochrome Malerie at Morsbroich Museum in the south of Dusseldorf, making her first presence in the European art scene. The Nets painting was hung alongside other forty avant-garde and ZERO group artists like Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, and Henk Peeters. Lucio Fontana, for instance, showed his important tagli painting. Sharing the same interest in the concept of infinity, Fontana approached the idea by slashing and perforating the two-dimensional surfaces, calling it an infinite dimension; while Kusama sought the conceptual meaning of it through ‘self-obliteration’—grounding herself in the surface plane with repetition to pursue the infinity of eternal time and absolute of space. Sprinted through the intense times of post-war rehabilitation at that time, many artists related their trajectories with Kusama’s, who turned her suffering from hallucinations into artistic impulses. Her repetitive scheme and obliteration process found expression in the forms of paper collages, soft sculptures, performances, and mirrored installations, yet it is apparent that the Infinity Nets series remains the archetype of Kusama’s oeuvre.

‘I was always standing at the centre of the obsession, over the passionate accretion and repetition inside of me,' said Kusama. Reminiscing an image of the ocean, Infinity Nets (TWHOQ) choreographs a vigorous living field with cosmic depth and creates layers of transformative spaces across three canvases. The cloud-like, organic oscillating nets contrast with her early Nets painting like Infinity Nets Yellow (1960), which Judd would refer to as 'shallow in space' and 'close to the surface'. The present work was included in Kusama’s acclaimed 2013 retrospective KUSAMA YAYOI, A Dream I Dreamed, which toured internationally at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, Seoul Arts Center, and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, among others. Its radiant colours of gold and vermilion mesmerises a regenerative power of the universe that never ceases to fascinate Kusama, spelling a reach to eternity with the warmth of the sun.

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