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YAYOI KUSAMA
(B. 1929)
Pumpkin
signed 'YAYOI KUSAMA' in English; dated '1998' (bottom edge)
bronze sculpture
26.5 x 29 x 27.5 cm. (10 3/8 x 11 3/8 x 10 7/8 in.)
edition 28/100
Executed in 1998

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Felix Yip
Felix Yip

Lot Essay

Drawing from her childhood experiences, Yayoi Kusama's works are at once profoundly autobiographical and provocative. The presence of obsessively repeated polka dots on her sculptures and installations are physical recreations of her overwhelming visual hallucinations as a child, drawing the viewer into her eccentric and profound world vision.

The choice of pumpkins- a gritty, hearty vegetable of the earth as a motif a compelling counterpart to Kusama's signature dots, which in themselves already mimic the round, spotty surface texture of the vegetable. In the small scale Pumpkin (Lot 1506) painting, we find a combination of her signature Infinity Nets series and her favored pumpkins rendered with meticulous strokes. Using a sharp yellow to offset the dark background, the visual sensation is surprisingly light and playful despite the compulsive nature of the work. In the set of 15 porcelain pumpkins (Lot 1473), the small purple or pink works are ever more playful and psychedelic. In its small scale they are transportable in their original case, and serve as a small reminder that the patterns of each piece is a visual carried by Kusama from her childhood, one which we can now carry around too. Pumpkin (Lot 1472) is surprisingly inviting in its lumpy and gleaming bronze surface. It is even pleasing in its off balanced, imperfect shape. In examining her highly textured sculptures, we find a liberating outlet for Kusama's psychological hardship, a generous sharing of herself to the spectator.

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