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Victoria Miro  presents Yayoi Kusama | Pumpkins

Archive | Information & News

16 Sept 2014 to 4 Oct 2014
Tuesday - Saturday 10.00am - 6.00pm
Victoria Miro Gallery
16 Wharf Road
N1 7RW
United Kingdom
T: +44 (0) 20 7336 8109
F: +44 (0) 20 7251 5596


Artists in this exhibition: Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama | Pumpkins

Private View 6 - 8pm
Thursday 16 September 2014
Paintings & Sculptures until 4 October 2014
Bronze Sculptures until 20 December 2014
Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW

Victoria Miro will present a new body of sculptures and paintings by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama dedicated to her iconic depiction of pumpkins.

The exhibition, which opens on 16 September 2014 comprises of two elements: the main gallery will house a new body of paintings and large scale mosaic pumpkins which will be on show until 4 October; whilst a major new series of bronze sculptures will be on display in the gallery's unique water garden until 20 December. The bronze pumpkins have been two years in the making and mark the first time the artist has worked with bronze on such a large scale.

Since her earliest formative years, in a family who made their living cultivating plant seeds, Kusama has been fascinated by the natural world. She has always had an affinity with nature, particularly vegetal and floral life, but the pumpkin continues to occupy a special place in her iconography and is a motif she has returned to repeatedly throughout her career.

The plant appears in some of her paintings and works on paper as early as 1948. After her return from New York to Japan in the 1970s she rediscovered the theme, and began making serial works depicting the pumpkin in various media: paintings; prints; sculpture; installation; and environmental works. She has made tiny pumpkins no bigger than a key ring, and monumental pumpkins that dwarf the viewer with their scale. She has placed pumpkins in box structures and in mirror rooms, and used the distinctive knobbly patterning of their skins as inspiration for her unique dot-patterned paintings and textiles. In 1993 pumpkins formed part of her presentation in the Japanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In 1994 her iconic exterior sculpture of a large yellow and black pumpkin was sited at the Benesse Art Site Naoshima, an island in Japan’s inland sea dedicated to displaying art within nature.

The artist has a strong personal identification with the pumpkin, and has described her images of them as a form of self-portraiture. She admires pumpkins for their hardiness and everyday quality, as well as for their unique and pleasing physical qualities. She has written:

“‘Pumpkin head’ was an epithet used to disparage ugly, ignorant men, and the phrase ‘Put eyes and a nose on a pumpkin’ evoked a pudgy and unattractive woman. It seems that pumpkins do not inspire much respect. But I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form. What appealed to me most was the pumpkin’s generous unpretentiousness. That and its solid spiritual base” (Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, trans. Ralph McCarthy, London 2011, p.76).

Notes to Editors

Kusama’s work is currently the subject of three major international museum exhibitions. Yayoi Kusama: A Dream I Dreamed is a solo exhibition of over 100 recent works travelling through Asia, first displayed at the Daegu Art Museum in Korea and followed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai. The exhibition is currently on display at Seoul Arts Center (opened May 4, 2014). It will tour through 2015 to the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, as well as other Asian venues shortly to be confirmed.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Obsession tours Central and South America throughout 2015. Consisting of over 100 works created between 1950 and 2013, the exhibition opened in June 2013 at Malba – Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires—setting a new record attendance for the museum—and then travelled to the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro and the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brasília. It is currently presented at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, (until 27 July 2014), and will be hosted next by the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City in September 2014.

Travelling to various venues in Japan the Yayoi Kusama: Eternity of Eternal Eternity began in January 2012, is now on view at the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto (until June 15th 2014). It will continue to the Akita Senshu Museum of Art and the Matsuzakaya Museum, Nagoya.

Press Contacts:
Kathy Stephenson | Victoria Miro | +44 (0)20 7549 0422

Victoria Miro Gallery

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