Yayoi Kusama (B. 1929)
Property of a Private Collector
Yayoi Kusama (B. 1929)

Love in the Night

Yayoi Kusama (B. 1929)
Love in the Night
signed, titled and dated 'Yayoi Kusama 1988 LOVE IN THE NIGHT' (on the stretcher)
acrylic on canvas
63 7/8 x 51 3/8 in. (162.2 x 130.5 cm.)
Painted in 1988.
Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo
Private collection
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 12 November 2009, Lot 224
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Tokyo, Fuji Television Gallery, Yayoi Kusama Soul Burning Flashes, June 1988, n.p., no. 7 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

With its impressive scale and distinctive subject matter, Yayoi Kusama’s Love in the Night from 1988 serves as a striking iteration of the artist’s iconic dot paintings. Set against a vibrant crimson backdrop, the canvas is inhabited by an almost infinite number of Kusama’s signature dots. These particular black dots possess tendrils which propel them throughout the space as if they are alive, resembling spermatozoa. Like many examples of Kusama’s work, Love in the Night reflects her fascination with the concept of a quantifiable infinity reached through seemingly unending repetition. These transient dots carry a myriad of different connotations through their ever-changing forms, both sensual and kinetic in nature. They are always in flux—shifting and interacting with one another. What is perhaps most compelling about Kusama’s body of work is the set of circumstances behind its inception, and Love in the Night invites the viewer to experience the artist’s unique perception of the world.

The title evokes Kusama’s fascination with the night, which is when she would typically experience vivid hallucinations since childhood. Kusama explores the importance of the night as a source of comfort, as well as a source of terror and vulnerability. Specifically, Love in the Night references the relationship between night and eroticism. In addition to its nocturnal focus, this piece alludes to the relationship between the individual and the universe. “Polka dots can't stay alone,” Kusama once stated. “When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots we become part of the unity of our environments” (Y. Kusama, quoted by J. Applin, Yayoi Kusama, Cambridge, 2012). For more than half a century, Yayoi Kusama has produced works that have intrigued and provoked audiences worldwide. Boldly reflecting her unique vision, Love in the Night is an extraordinary work by one of Japan’s most acclaimed artists.

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