167
167
Yayoi Kusama
MIDSUMMER
Estimate
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 325,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
167
Yayoi Kusama
MIDSUMMER
Estimate
180,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 325,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London

Yayoi Kusama
B. 1929
MIDSUMMER
signed, titled, titled in Japanese and dated 1983 on the underside
acrylic and stuffed fabric in wooden box construction
60 by 35 by 15 cm. 23 1/2 by 13 3/4 by 5 7/8 in.
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This work is accompanied by a certificate from the Yayoi Kusama studio.

Provenance

Fuji Television Gallery, Tokyo
Private Collection, Japan
Sotheby's, London, 30 June 2000, Lot 222
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Exhibited

Fukuoka, Municipal Museum of Art, Yayoi Kusama, March 1987, n.p., no. 66, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Vibrating with hyper-saturated yellow and psychedelic black patterns, yet intimate in scale, womb-like and organic, Yayoi Kusama’s Midsummer bursts with paradoxes. Neon biomorphic forms erupt with a feverish intensity from the object’s core; nevertheless, the effect is nest-like and strikes a distinctly domestic tone. Midsummer encapsulates a period of crisis and transformation for its’ maker. It stands as a window into a ‘Kusama world’.

In 1973, Kusama returned to Tokyo as a figure of relative obscurity to the society and artistic landscape of a newly modernised Japan. Kusama writes “I felt disoriented in this new Japan, a country bumpkin fresh from New York” (Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, London 2013, p. 195). While she had initially intended to return to New York, the years that followed saw the deterioration of her mental state, and by 1977 she was admitted to a private psychiatric hospital in Tokyo where she still resides. In New York, Kusama embodied her artistic practice, firmly positioning the figure of the artist at the forefront of her work. By 1973, the New York Era was over, and in Japan Kusama began a new epoch, with a feverish drive and ambition, returning to an object-based practice saturated with a distinctly personal and intimate tone, antithetical to the public and performative nature of her happenings. The result was an epic explosion of diverse new media: ceramics, collages, novels and poetry.

Made in 1983, at the height of this period of frenetic production, Midsummer bursts with swelling handmade forms akin to the Accumulation Sculptures first created in her New York apartment with her close friend and neighbour Donald Judd. The box form echoes the work of Joseph Cornell, Kusama’s lover, whom she described as “a box maker of astonishing genius” (Ibid., p. 165). Midsummer also retraces the lyrical tone of the artist’s own earliest explorations into the themes of nature, surface and repetition. It is as if Kusama revised her entire oeuvre, wrenching some of her earliest themes from oblivion and repositioning them at the core of her practice. Midsummer celebrates Kusama’s rewriting of her own artistic trajectory, bridging the artist’s organic, biomorphic focus of her early works, with the chromatic intensity and dizzying abstraction of her more recent paintings and installations. The box works of the early eighties were integral in the development of Kusama’s iconic visual vernacular and the motifs that preoccupied subsequent decades of her practice, and that still resonate in her most recent Infinity Rooms.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

|
London