INFINITY-NETS [JSAL], 2015
Acrylic on canvas
44 1 /8 × 57 3 /8 inches (112.1 × 145.7 cm)
Yayoi Kusama's (b. 1929) work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century: pop and minimalism. Her highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures, which allude at once to microscopic and macroscopic universes.
Kusama began her large-scale Infinity Net paintings in the 1950s, when she moved to the United States from her native Japan. First produced at a time when Abstract Expressionism was still the dominant style, these canvases, according to Mignon Nixon, set out to "replace the expressive gesture with an exhaustive one, pushing painting to its limits of spatial extent and 'monotony;' and to obliterate the self, reconceiving contemporary painting from a subjective statement of individual consciousness to 'nothingness' on an epic scale."1
Kusama went on to apply the obsessive, hallucinatory qualities of the Infinity Nets to her three-dimensional work, creating optical environments that merge concepts such as flatness and depth, presence and absence. Meanwhile, she has continuously returned to the theme in her paintings, using a variety of formats and colors. The red net pattern in the present work spreads out across a white background, creating from a distance an optical combination of the two colors. While from afar, the overall composition appears flat and uniformly repetitive, closer observation of the work's surface reveals the materiality of the paint and the individual nature of the repeating elements.
1 Mignon Nixon, "Infinity Politics," in Frances Morris, ed., Yayoi Kusama. Exh. cat. (London: Tate Publishing, 2012), p. 180.