Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
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Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)

Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets

Details
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929)
Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets
statue: signed, titled, dated and numbered '1998 YAYOI KUSAMA STATUE OF VENUS OBLITERATED BY INFINITY NETS 6/10' (on the lower edge)
painting: signed, titled and dated 'Yayoi Kusama Nets No 6 1998 (Venus)' (on the reverse)
acrylic on fibreglass and canvas
statue: 84½ x 27 x 31in. (214.6 x 68.5 x 78.7cm.)
painting: 89½ x 57½in. (227.3 x 146cm.)
Executed in 1998, this work is number six from an edition of ten
Provenance
Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist).
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2012.
Literature
L. Hoptman, Yayoi Kusama, New York 2000 (installation view at Robert Millar Gallery, New York illustrated in colour, p. 79).
Exhibited
New York, Robert Miller Gallery, Yayoi Kusama: NOW, 1998.
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Lot Essay

"My nets grew beyond myself and beyond the canvases I was covering with them. They began to cover walls, the ceiling, and finally the whole universe. I was always standing at the centre of the obsession, over the passionate accretion and repetition inside of me"

(Yayoi Kusama, quoted in L. Hoptman, A. Tatehata, U. Kultermann, Yayoi Kusama, London, 2000, p. 103).

‘The patience that has gone into the confection of [the paintings’] texture is astonishing and the concentrated pattern titillates the eye’
(S. Preston, quoted in F. Morris (ed.), Yayoi Kusama, exh. cat., Tate Modern, London, 2012, p.53).

An avant-garde twist on a classically iconic sculpture, Yayoi Kusama's Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets is seductive, vibrant, and hypnotic. Kusama places the Roman goddess of love and beauty in an enshrouded setting where both sculpture and background are covered with her signature Infinity Nets; distinctively intricate patterns that helped launch her career as one of the leading artists of the Post-war period. Rich in both visual and textural variety, the surface displays Kusama's technical skill as well as her physical and mental stamina. The bright green netted "molecules" strewn over the bright blue surface draw the viewer into the folds of Venus' garbs. The artist created 10 editions of this mixed media piece in different color combinations; all were part of a successful exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Now in New York City's Robert Miller Gallery in the summer of 1998.

As a Japanese woman, Kusama grew up exposed to a wide array of remarkable patterns in the fabrics and textiles used to make traditional Japanese clothing- an early source of inspiration for her Infinity Nets which demonstrate her inherent understanding of complex design. An obsessional neurotic, Kusama utilizes her Infinity Nets paintings as a means of channeling her anxiety and expressing her artistic impulses. In a sense, Infinity Nets establish her identity as a female Japanese artist in the realm of a male dominated Post-War art world. Stuart Preston, writing about Kusuma's first major exhibition of her Infinity Nets paintings at New York's Stephen Radich Gallery in 1961, noted that, "The patience that has gone into the confection of [the paintings'] texture is astonishing and the concentrated pattern titillates the eye" (S. Preston, quoted in F. Morris (ed.), Yayoi Kusama, exh. cat., Tate Modern, London, 2012, p.53).

In painstaking detail, Kusama perseveringly painted one by one, the miniscule specks on large surface areas, sometimes until she passed out from exhaustion. It is her mental condition that makes her obsess in this way; in fact, she describes her art-making as both the symptom and the cure for her "obsession" and considers her work "psychosomatic art." During the process of painting her Infinity Nets, Kusama becomes mesmerized and transported into her own world; the nets she creates become the veil that shields her from reality. In the same way, the speckled Venus sculpture is camouflaged by her surroundings, being consumed by the Infinity Nets that stand behind her. Thus, Kusama's Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets is a reflection of the artist herself.

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