YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
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YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
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YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)

Starry Pumpkin Gold

Details
YAYOI KUSAMA (B. 1929)
Starry Pumpkin Gold
signed, titled, dated and inscribed ‘Starry Pumpkin Gold Yayoi Kusama PT 001 GOLD 2014’ (inside the sculpture)
fiberglass-reinforced plastic and tile sculpture
185 (H) x 214 x 214 cm. (72 7⁄8 x 84 1⁄4 x 84 1⁄4 in.)
Executed in 2014
Provenance
Victoria Miro Gallery, London
Private collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner

This work is accompanied by the registration card issued by the artist’s studio.
Literature
Victoria Miro Gallery, Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins, September – December, London, 2014 (illustrated, 30-32).
Exhibited
London, Victoria Miro Gallery, Yayoi Kusama Pumpkins, September - December 2014.
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in lots consigned for sale which may include guaranteeing a minimum price or making an advance to the consignor that is secured solely by consigned property. This is such a lot. This indicates both in cases where Christie's holds the financial interest on its own, and in cases where Christie's has financed all or a part of such interest through a third party. Such third parties generally benefit financially if a guaranteed lot is sold successfully and may incur a loss if the sale is not successful.

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Jacky Ho (何善衡) Deputy Head of Department

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Lot Essay

A monumental sculpture of radiating brilliance, Yayoi Kusama’s Starry Pumpkin Gold marks the height of the artist’s lifelong artistic pursuit. Standing at almost two meters tall, its immense presence and mesmerizing glimmer transform the fruit into a holy treasure, charging dynamism into its force field. Golden tiles and kaleidoscopic dots coat the artist’s most quintessential subject, channelling a blazing intensity and whimsical rhythm that distinguish Starry Pumpkin Gold from Kusama’s other pumpkin iterations. It is indeed a magnificent work of museum calibre and extreme scarcity—the third glittering monumental pumpkin to ever be auctioned and one of the largest to have appeared so far.

A few iterations of Starry Pumpkin Gold have witnessed international fanfare in museums and exhibitions worldwide. In 2021, the New York Botanical Garden hosted ‘Kusama: Cosmic Nature’, a large-scale sculpture and installation exhibition dedicated to Kusama’s fascination with nature. Its centrepiece—a golden mosaic pumpkin featuring red dots—prominently sat amongst blooming daffodils, flaunting Kusama’s characteristic flair. In Tokyo, the Yayoi Kusama Museum’s Starry Pumpkin with pink tiles overlooks the cityscape. The sculpture’s saturated colours establish an alternative reality but at the same time, echoes the city’s vibrancy. Kusama’s mosaic pumpkin sculptures are the most venerated museum-calibre works, witnesses to the artist’s exhaustive craftsmanship and legendary vision. The larger-than-life pillar is a creation of utmost rarity, with only two mosaic pumpkins previously appearing in auction.

Even more mesmerizing than its peers, Starry Pumpkin Gold commands an unfathomable force. Its prismatic dots and undulating surfaces form colourful vortexes that engross the viewers into the artist’s endless cosmic universe. The sculpture pays tribute to the immersive Mirror Room (Pumpkin), 1993—created by the artist to represent her country in the 45th Venice Biennale. Here, replacing the artist’s signature dots are the reflective tiles that recreate her hallucinogenic reality. In Kusama’s lifelong pursuit to activate expansive visual field with repetitive patterns, Starry Pumpkin Gold’s radiating tessellation pushes her quintessential vision to new heights.

A deeply introspective shape that grounds her legendary career, the pumpkin has become a self-portrait for the artist. Born in 1929 in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan, Kusama spent her formative years around parents who harvested seeds for a living. It was there that the hearty fruit marked an impression on the artist. In the hallucinations that Kusama began experiencing since ten years old, pumpkins emerged as a source of comfort. In 1958, a 29-year-old Kusama moved to New York city and drew instant attention with the infinity dots that echoed the hallucinogenic visions she continued to experience, also recalling the pumpkin’s natural markings. Upon the artist’s return to Japan in the 1970s, she created iterations of the gourd during her intense period of depression and throughout her career. Praising the fruit for its “generous unpretentiousness” and “its solid spiritual balance,” Kusama repeatedly canonizes the pumpkin in multiple scales and media.

The pumpkin—now synonymous with Kusama—is a beacon of contemporary art. One of the most renowned female artists, Kusama has yet to witness more remarkable success and worldwide retrospectives, including one in Hong Kong’s M+ Museum this year. Combining the iconic subject with breath-taking lustre and painstaking technique, Starry Pumpkin Gold is a truly invaluable find, epitomizing all of Kusama’s inimitable achievements.

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