- Yayoi Kusama
- Infinity-Nets (Pink)
- signed in Japanese and English and dated 1990 on the reverse
- acrylic on canvas
- 20 1/2 by 17 1/2 in.
- 52 by 44.4 cm.
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2010
Kusama’s nets and dots are traced back, like almost all her artistic impulses, to traumas of her childhood. They depict hallucinations she experienced, in which her field of vision was glazed over with disturbing visual patterns. Infinity-Nets (Pink) is from 1990; it is testimony to the durability of this motif in her work. A similar pattern forms the elegant ‘background’ to Pumpkin, 1992. Here, the motif is composed of lines of dots in varying sizes which establish the material reality of the vegetable. The pumpkin motif is another product of adolscent memory. Kusama’s family business was wholesaling vegetables and the pumpkin was a major local crop. Despite the food shortages caused by World War II, her family always had vegetables to eat, especially the ubiquitous pumpkin. Like the nets, which enter her artistic vocabulary when she was quite young, she began to draw gourds when she was about 19, attending the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. In some ways the pumpkin is an apt motif for this artist, for the vegetable can grow into many unexpected forms and achieve astonishing dimensions, just as her paintings do.
All of Kusama’s work is characterized by neat, persistent production, whether on a vast scale or at the seemingly microscopic level of her smaller works on paper. Flower, from 1980, created with screens and a paint diffuser, is a cosmos in miniature: a glimpse into the infinite.