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Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro, London

Installation is one of my favourite art forms. Depending on the work it can embody the space, enhance it and inevitably change it in some way. Thinking about the natural world versus the built environment led me to follow up Victoria Miro’s press release on Yayoi Kusama’s three giant pumpkins that will be on view for about a month this summer. The new giant dotted pumpkins will be installed in Victoria Miro’s canal side garden to mark the 80th birthday of Japan’s most revered contemporary artist.

Yayoi Kusama – whose legendary career spans six decades – celebrates her 80th birthday this year. To mark the occasion, for the first time in London, three new pumpkin works will be on display. Situated in the gallery’s canal side garden the sculptures will be presented alongside her permanently installed iconic piece Narcissus Garden (1966-).

Kusama’s acclaimed presentation in the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1993, which consisted of a mirrored room filled with tiny pumpkin sculptures in which she sat in colour coordinated magician’s attire – marked the beginning of the artist’s preoccupation with the pumpkin motif. Following the Biennale she went on to produce a huge, yellow pumpkin sculpture covered with an optical pattern of black dots. This pumpkin came to represent for her a kind of alter ego or self-portrait and remains one of her signature series of works.

Kusama is a fascinating artist; the fact that her career has lasted over 60 years is a testament to the longevity of her work. I am amazed that in Novemvber 2008, Christies New York auctioned her a piece of her for $5,100,000. The hightest sum ever paid for a living female artist’s work!

Another fabulous Japanese artist is Yoshitomo Nara. His last work in the UK was at BALTIC, A-Z project.

Yayoi Kusama: Outdoor Sculptures runs at Victoria Miro from 23 June until 25 July. Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 6pm.

Image credit (c)Yayoi Kusama courtesy of Victoria Miro

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