Yayoi Kusama: Giant Bronze Pumpkin Unveiled In Kensington Gardens

Kusama Pumpkin Serpentine

This summer, the Serpentine and The Royal Parks will unveil a monumental sculpture by the iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. From July 9 to November 3, 2024, visitors to Kensington Gardens will be treated to the sight of Kusama’s latest work, Pumpkin (2024), near the Round Pond.

This impressive sculpture, Kusama’s tallest bronze pumpkin to date, stands six meters high and 5.5 meters in diameter. It offers an intriguing visual experience from various vantage points around the park, harmoniously blending with the natural surroundings.

Kusama, renowned for her immersive installations and large-scale sculptures, has a deep connection to pumpkins, a motif that has appeared in her work since 1946. These pumpkins, covered in her signature polka dots, draw from her childhood memories and her family’s agricultural roots.

In a statement, Kusama expressed her affection for the humble Pumpkin: “I am sending my giant Pumpkin to London. Since childhood, pumpkins have been a great comfort to me; they are such tender things to touch, so appealing in colour and form. They are humble and amusing simultaneously and speak to me of the joy of living.”

The unveiling of Pumpkin (2024) is not just a significant event for Kusama fans but also marks a reunion with the Serpentine, where her first major UK retrospective took place in 2000. This exhibition was a comprehensive showcase of her work, featuring everything from paintings to performances.

Bettina Korek, CEO, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine, shared their excitement: “It is an honour to present this work by Yayoi Kusama in Kensington Gardens. Her signature pumpkins have become a landmark motif, and this project reunites Kusama with the Serpentine, highlighting her lasting influence on contemporary art. We deeply thank The Royal Parks for their collaboration and our supporters who make such public art programmes possible.”

Kusama’s public artworks, from museums to outdoor spaces like the Benesse Art Site Naoshima in Japan, are displayed worldwide. The Serpentine’s tradition of bringing art into Kensington Gardens dates back to 1970, with memorable installations by artists like Henry Moore, Anish Kapoor, and Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

This year’s Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Minsuk Cho and his firm Mass Studies, will be another highlight from June 7 to October 27, 2024. The Pavilion is a dynamic platform for the Serpentine’s community and education programmes.

Kusama’s latest contribution to the public art landscape underscores her status as one of the most celebrated artists of our time. Her diverse and highly personal body of work resonates with global audiences, making her polka-dotted Pumpkin a must-see in London’s vibrant art scene this summer.

Yayoi Kusama: A Visionary Journey Through Art and Obsession

Yayoi Kusama, born March 22, 1929, in Matsumoto, Japan, is one of the most influential and avant-garde artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Renowned for her distinctive polka dots, immersive installations, and infinite mirror rooms, Kusama’s work is a deeply personal exploration of her psyche and a universally resonant commentary on human existence.

Kusama’s early years were marked by challenges and a turbulent family life. She was born into a conservative, affluent family with a large seed nursery. From a young age, Kusama experienced vivid hallucinations involving patterns and dots, later becoming the hallmark of her artistic output. Despite her mother’s opposition to her artistic aspirations, Kusama relentlessly pursued art.

In 1958, seeking greater artistic freedom and inspired by American Abstract Expressionism, Kusama moved to New York City. This period marked a significant transformation in her career. She became immersed in the vibrant avant-garde scene, forging relationships with influential artists such as Donald Judd, Joseph Cornell, and Andy Warhol. During the 1960s, Kusama staged provocative happenings and performances that challenged societal norms and addressed themes of sexuality, identity, and mental illness.

Kusama’s art from the 1960s onward showcased her signature use of polka dots and infinity nets. These motifs were not merely decorative but integral to her vision of obliteration and the dissolution of the self into the cosmos. Her installations, such as “Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field” (1965) and “The Obliteration Room” (2002), envelop viewers in immersive environments that reflect her unique perspective on infinity and repetition.

In 1973, Kusama returned to Japan, where she voluntarily admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital, where she continues to live. This period marked a phase of relative obscurity, but she never ceased creating. Her commitment to art remained unwavering, and she continued to produce a prolific body of work encompassing painting, sculpture, performance, and literature.

The late 1980s and 1990s saw a resurgence of interest in Kusama’s work. Major retrospectives, including her first at the Serpentine Gallery in London in 2000, brought her global recognition and acclaim. Her installations and exhibitions began drawing massive audiences, and her works fetched high prices at international auctions.

Yayoi Kusama’s influence extends beyond the art world. She has collaborated with major fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, bringing her distinctive polka dot patterns to a broader audience. Her autobiography, “Infinity Net,” provides deep insights into her life and creative process.

Kusama’s work is celebrated for its innovation, emotional depth, and universal appeal. She continues to be a prolific creator, with her exhibitions attracting millions of visitors worldwide. Her profound impact on contemporary art is undeniable, as she consistently challenges and expands the boundaries of visual expression.

Throughout her eight-decade career, Kusama has confronted her struggles with mental health, transforming them into a source of inspiration and creativity. Her art, characterized by its repetitive patterns and immersive environments, is a testament to her resilience and boundless imagination.

Yayoi Kusama’s journey from a small town in Japan to the pinnacle of the global art scene is a story of extraordinary talent, relentless perseverance, and an indomitable spirit. Her legacy is seen in her art and her enduring message of hope, connection, and the infinite possibilities of the human mind.

Read More



, , ,