Yayoi Kusama - Nets 8

Yayoi Kusama

Nets 8

Acrylic on canvas: 23.9(h) x 28.6(w) in /

60.6(h) x 72.7(w) cm

Signed, dated and inscribed on the reverse: Yayoi Kusama / 1997 / Nets 8

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BV 180

YAYOI KUSAMA

Born Matsumoto City, Japan 1929

Nets 8

Signed, dated and inscribed on the reverse: Yayoi Kusama / 1997 / Nets 8

Acrylic on canvas: 23 7/8 x 28 5/8 in / 60.6 x 72.7 cm

Frame size: 24 ½ x 29 ½ in / 62.2 x 74.9 cm

In a polished metal tray frame

Provenance:

Robert Miller Gallery, New York

Private collection, acquired from the above in 2007

This painting is registered with the Yayoi Kusama Studio as no. 3504

Dots of a powerful, life-affirming yellow shine like constellations beneath Yayoi Kusama’s fascinating, meticulously painted lush green Nets 8, 1997. These tight, entrancing networks of tiny arcs expanding indefinitely across an intricate surface are part of an ongoing, obsessional body of work which Kusama began in New York in the 1950s and returns to episodically, traversing her two and three-dimensional work. The earliest examples of the artist’s extraordinary centreless compositions were white on black, their overall surface bleached by a thin white wash which brought Kusama’s first taste of success in America and Europe as part of the New York avant-garde. While maintaining the seemingly boundless repetition of scalloped, single colour strokes on a contrasting ground, Kusama’s nets of the 1980s and 90s exhibit a bold palette of vivid colours in thick acrylic paint. Perhaps the purest expression of her life’s practice, the nets continued importance is also highlighted by Kusama’s choice of Infinity Net as the title of her autobiography (2002). The pictures originate, she recalls in her memoir, from efforts to record visual hallucinations which she experienced as a child. Episodes of severe neurosis have recurred throughout her life, during which the artist has covered canvases, furniture, the walls of her studio and finally herself with thousands of nets, repeating the process until they multiply to infinity.

 

Kusama showed several infinity net paintings at her first solo exhibition at the Brata Gallery in New York in 1959, writing of the motif, ‘My desire was to predict and measure the infinity of the unbounded universe, from my own position in it, with dots – an accumulation of particles forming the negative spaces in the net. How deep was the mystery? Did infinite infinities exist beyond our universe? In exploring these questions I wanted to examine the single dot that was my own life. One polka dot: a single particle among billions.’[1]

Kusama left New York and returned to Japan ‘as famous as Andy Warhol’[2] in 1973 and in March 1977, voluntarily admitted herself to the hospital where she lives to this day. In 1993 Kusama represented Japan at the forty-fifth Venice Biennale – the first solo exhibition at the Japanese pavilion. Public commissions for large-scale outdoor sculptures in Japan and a mural in Lisbon followed, as well as solo exhibitions at home and abroad. The highpoint for the artist came in 1998, the year after Nets 8 was painted, when the travelling retrospective exhibition, Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art culminating at the newly constructed Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. The excitement generated by the power of the work and its vast dissemination was described by the press as ‘Kusamania’ or the ‘Kusama Renaissance.’ One of the most celebrated contemporary artists of her generation, Yayoi Kusama and her infinity nets continue to engage and beguile today.

[1] Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusuma, translated by Ralph McCarthy, Tate Publishing, 2011, p.23.

[2] Mignon Nixon, ‘Infinity Politics’, Yayoi Kusama, exh cat, Tate Publishing, 2012, p.177.

Yayoi Kusama