Yayoi Kusama: Pumpkin

The Round Pond Kensington Gardens 9 July - 3 November 2024 Free

Known for her immersive installations, large-scale sculptures and intricate paintings, Yayoi Kusama often features kabocha, or pumpkin, in her work. Since 1946 Kusama’s pumpkins have taken many forms, colours and shapes, but they are always covered in the artist’s signature polka dot pattern.

Kusama’s relationship to the kabocha is rooted in her childhood – the artist’s family cultivated the plant’s seeds and their home was surrounded by fields of this squash. Pumpkins frequently appear as stand-ins for self-portraits. Kusama admires them for their everyday quality, hardiness and unique, frequently humorous forms. She has said ‘Pumpkins have been a great comfort to me since my childhood. They speak to me of the joy of living. They are humble and amusing at the same time, and I have and always will celebrate them in my art.’

The artist’s sculptures have been installed in museums and galleries around the world, and various outdoor spaces, including parks, gardens and at the seaside. Since 1994, a yellow and black pumpkin is permanently on display at the Benesse Art Site Naoshima – an island in Japan’s inland sea dedicated to displaying art within nature.

Pumpkin (2024) is Kusama’s tallest bronze pumpkin sculpture to date, standing at 6 metres tall and 5.5 metres in diameter. The work, installed by the Round Pond, in Kensington Gardens, offers a wide range of viewpoints and is in dialogue with the surrounding environment.


Curated by

Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Director of Programmes (interim) and Chief Curator

Natalia Grabowska, Curator at Large, Architecture and Site-Specific Projects

Production: Mike Gaughan


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