212
212

PROPERTY OF A PROMINENT INTERNATIONAL COLLECTOR

Yayoi Kusama
UNTITLED
JUMP TO LOT
212

PROPERTY OF A PROMINENT INTERNATIONAL COLLECTOR

Yayoi Kusama
UNTITLED
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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London

Yayoi Kusama
B. 1929
UNTITLED
signed and dated 1953; stamped with the artist's name in English and dated 1953 and stamped in Japanese on the reverse
gouache, ink and charcoal on paper
27.3 by 20.3 cm. 10 3/4 by 8 in.
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This work is accompanied by a certificated of authenticity from the Yayoi Kusama Studio.

Provenance

Private Collection (a gift from the artist)
Bonhams, New York, 12 November 2012, Lot 106
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

Executed when Yayoi Kusama was in her early twenties and already positioning herself as an avant-garde artist in Japan, Untitled is a mesmeric work on paper which documents an early expression of her infamous idiom. Born in 1929, Kusama, a uniquely determined and precocious teenager, would against the will of her family pursue art and begin to exhibit results of her uncompromising creative ambition in provincial Japan during the 1950s. Since the age of ten, Kusama had been inflicted by hallucinatory visions that intensified her obsessive-compulsive disorder. Binding her visions in painting would allow her to undergo a cathartic self-obliteration: “My room, my body, the entire universe was filled with [patterns], my self was eliminated, and I had returned and been reduced to the infinity of eternal time and the absolute of space. This was not an allusion but reality” (Yayoi Kusama cited in: Laura Hoptman, Udo Kultermann and Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama, New York 2000, p. 36).

Trained in Japanese Nihonga painting, Kusama developed an incredibly cosmopolitan style looking to the French Surrealists for the foundations of her aesthetic. Whilst defying direct attribution to any school or “-ism”, her practice would nevertheless reciprocally inform the momentum abstraction gained during the 1960s. With the pristine system of archetypal Polka dots and the rejection of a vanishing point in favour of spatial complexity, the present work prophetically anticipates what would become key tenets of Kusama’s now iconic Infinity Nets. Outlining the importance that these early works would come to have on Kusama’s later practice, Frances Morris expanded: “The small works on paper from the Fifties and Sixties have this world in a grain of sand, this minute but galactic quality to it. When looking, you have that feeling of, ‘my God what scale am I?’ You get lost in this extraordinary cosmos... I think these macroscopic realms are really extraordinary” (Frances Morris cited in: ‘Kusama:’ I’d promised myself I’d conquer the world’, Phaidon, February 2012, online).

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London