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Pumpkin (TWPOT)
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Pumpkin (TWPOT)
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About the item

Signed in English, titled and dated 2010 on the reverse\nPlump, feisty and bursting with an electrically psychedelic energy, Pumpkin (TWPOT) evinces a rare and seldom-seen shade of golden-orange and manifests as an unequivocally consummate and technically impeccable archetype of Kusamas oeuvre a testament to almost nine decades of astonishing dedication to art and creation. Arguably the most important living female artist today, responsible for revolutionising Abstraction, Expressionism, Emotionalism, Pop Art and Minimalism, Kusama Yayois phenomenal oeuvre transgresses paradigms in all fields and media. Since her early days of explosive stardom creating cutting-edge avant-garde art in parallel with key figures in the male-dominated global art scene such as Andy Warhol, George Segal, Donald Judd and Claes Oldenburg, Kusamas ground-breaking innovation never diminished; now in her late-eighties, the octogenarian shows no signs of slowing down. Fuelled by an irrepressible drive and a singularly extraordinary vision, Kusama works tirelessly and compulsively, producing captivating and intricate works each more beautiful and mesmerising than the last. The present Pumpkin (TWPOT) was created in 2010 at the apex of the artists return to global eminence, manifesting as an emblem of the artists epochal multi-faceted oeuvre.\n\nEmbodying an iconic, charismatic and highly personal motif, Kusamas pumpkins are as universally emblematic of her oeuvre as the Campbells soup can was to Andy Warhols. Rendered in a shade of golden-orange, Kusama deliberately painted Pumpkin (TWPOT) in the gourds essential colour with a direct semblance to a sweet, tender and luscious kabocha. The work is covered in precisely painted polka dots and set against a wall of tessellated nets all of which are wholly iconic and era-defining features of the artists style. Developed to mature perfection through decades of near-obsessive production and reproduction, each of these distinct elements of the piece reflect a different segment within Kusamas expansive aesthetic philosophy whilst coming together to create a dazzlingly hypnotic visual narrative one that evokes strong associations with the formal reduction of Minimalism, the repetitive symbolism of Pop and the hypnotic illusions of Op Art. Surreal and fantastical, Kusamas pumpkin paintings exhibit extraordinary dexterity in skill and execution as well as the single-minded meticulous vision that defines the artists career all the while being deeply personal and indexical, representing a wholly epic extension of Kusamas legacy in contemporary art and culture.\n\nThe incipient appearance of Kusamas mature pumpkins occurred in the 1980s and 1990s a period in which Kusama returned to works with richer narrative content as opposed to the stark austere aesthetic of her 1960s infinity nets. However, the initial manifestation of the motif itself (not yet rendered in its present polka-dotted form) can be traced back to the artists Nihonga practice at the Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts in the late 1940s. The pumpkin is deeply central to the artists core psyche, stemming from a vivid hallucination from her childhood. The first time I ever saw a pumpkin was when I was in elementary school and went with my grandfather to visit a big seed-harvesting groundand there it was: a pumpkin the size of a mans head It immediately began speaking to me in a most animated manner (Infinity Net, Yayoi Kusama, trans. Ralph McCarthy, Tate Publishing, London, UK, 2011, p. 75). The anthropomorphised pumpkin can here be seen as indexical to Kusamas other encounters with animated plants and objects, such as her memory of speaking to a talking flower and dog in her childhood. However, unlike the traumatic feelings that the artist associates with the flower and dog, the talking pumpkin exuded a generous unpretentiousness (Infinity Net, Yayoi Kusama, trans. Ralph McCarthy, Tate Publishing, London, UK, 2011, p. 76), emitting a solid spiritual balance (Ibid.).\n\nFunctioning as both an allegory and a form of self-portraiture, Kusamas pumpkin as an uncanny yet benign and nurturing subject exudes peace, serenity, life and vigour. Traditionally a symbol of fertility, the pumpkin also gives one a feeling of abundance, joy, triumph and reward not unlike the feelings one would experience when reaping ones harvest after an arduous season of work. In 1993, after almost two decades of a retreated presence from the international art world, Kusama was invited to be the first solo artist and first woman ever to grace the Japanese pavilion at the 45th Venice Biennale. For this momentous occasion she constructed Mirror Room (Pumpkin), consuming a section of the pavilion in an immersive floor-to-ceiling extravaganza of black-on-yellow polka dots. At its centre was a dazzling mirrored room filled with pumpkin sculptures, echoing her seminal 1966 Infinity Mirror RoomLove Forever installation whilst grandly introducing the theme of the pumpkin. The pumpkin thus stands as a symbol of triumph for the artists international resurgence and rise to global eminence.\n\nRepetitive net patterns are also a central representative element of Kusamas visual lexicon. Starting with the New York period Infinity Nets, Kusamas nets have become synonymous with obsession a word that populates many of her interviews, book covers, as well as art reviews. To the artist, this obsession with reproduction at the most minute level was and is much more than meets the eye. Looking back on her nets, Kusama remarked that hers was a method opposite to the emotional space of Abstract Expressionism (which prevailed in New York) (Yayoi Kusama, A Lone Woman Takes on the International Art World, Yayoi Kusama Exhibition, Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, Kitakyushu, Japan, 1987, p. 117). Indeed, working against conventions and forging her own unique path, Kusamas method was one that was primarily born of her mental illness her way of combatting fears through obliteration. Artists do not usually express their own psychological complexes directly, but I use my complexes and fears as subjects... I make them and make them and then keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this obliteration (Yayoi Kusama, Tate Modern, 2012).\n\nThe process of repetition is also a method through which Kusama attains technical and formal perfection. The present Pumpkin (TWPOT) embodies the artists unequivocally consummate and impeccable technical execution a dazzling image of flawless and meticulous exactitude. Forget yourself, proclaimed Kusama, the High Priestess of Polka Dots, on a 1968 flyer for one of her art shows. Self-Destruction is the only way out but, after self-destruction comes Resurrection, a new life of oneness, peace and happiness with the other beings of the Universe (Kusamas Body Festival in 60s, Access Co., Ltd., p. 148). This mantra of self-obliterating, of blurring the lines between where one being ends and the next one begins, has been tremendously representative of Kusamas oeuvre. Pumpkin (TWPOT) no doubt exhibits this feature: it is hard to tell where the polka dots end and the psychedelic nets begin; it is as if they are one and the same, blending seamlessly into one another, creating an enthralling piece of oneness and cohesion within Kusamas Universe.
HK
HK
HK

medium

Acrylic on canvas

creator

Kusama, Yayoi

dimensions

130 by 162.5 cm; 51⅛ by 64 in.

provenance

Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo Acquired by the present owner from the above This work is accompanied by an artwork registration card issued by the artist's studio

artist_range_end

1929

artist_range_start

1929

creator_nationality_dates

B. 1929


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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