Lot 11
  • 11

Yayoi Kusama

Estimate
60,000 - 80,000 USD
Sold
116,500 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • 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.

Provenance

Galerie Vintage, Paris
Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2010

Catalogue Note

Nets.  Dots.  An infinity of nets and dots.   By such simple terms one might summarize the scope of Yayoi Kusama’s artistic agenda, which burst through the fragile seam separating the polarities of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Those two divergent movements captivated the New York art world in 1959, when Kusama displayed Pollock-sized Infinity Nets canvases in a solo exhibition held at the Brata Gallery, an artist’s co-op at 89 East 10th Street.  It was one of the most powerful shockwaves to rock the foundations of contemporary art throughout the 1950s.   Donald Judd, a contemporary of Kusama's, reviewed the show for ARTnews; he explained: ‘[the] interaction between the background and the "net" of Kusama's paintings causes the work to oscillate between the infinity of pictorial space and the presence of the material surface.’  With these paintings, a bridge was formed between Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting on the one side, and Pop on the other.

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.

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