UK

Serpentine unveils pumpkin sculpture by Yayoi Kusama in Kensington Gardens

The Japanese artist said that pumpkins, a common motif of hers, ‘speak to me of the joy of living.’

The artwork is by Yayoi Kusama
The artwork is by Yayoi Kusama

The Serpentine Galleries has unveiled a large-scale sculpture of a yellow pumpkin in Kensington Gardens by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Kusama, 95, who works and lives in Tokyo, is known for her immersive installations and sculptures which often feature pumpkins of different colours and shapes covered in her signature polka dot motif.

The artwork, which is on view between July 9 and November 3, is Kusama’s tallest bronze pumpkin to date and stands at six metres tall (19.6ft) and 5.5 metres (18ft) in diameter.

Kusama said: “I am sending to London with love my giant pumpkin.

“Since my childhood pumpkins have been a great comfort to me, they are such tender things to touch, so appealing in colour and form.

Pumpkin (2024) (Ota Fine Arts/Victoria Miro/David Zwirner/George Darrell)
Pumpkin (2024) (Ota Fine Arts/Victoria Miro/David Zwirner/George Darrell) (George Rosen Darrell)

“They are humble and amusing at the same time and speak to me of the joy of living.”

Serpentine’s chief executive Bettina Korek and artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist said: “It is an honour to present this work by Yayoi Kusama in Kensington Gardens.

“Her signature pumpkins have become a landmark motif for the artist, and this project is a reunion for Kusama and Serpentine: her first major survey exhibition in Britain was staged in our galleries in 2000.”

The pumpkin is located by the Round Pond and marks the latest in a long-standing series of public artwork in the Royal Parks which currently includes Strip-Tower by German artist Gerhard Richter, situated at Serpentine South.

The Serpentine South Gallery was the location of Kusama’s first retrospective exhibition in the UK in 2000 which included paintings, collages, watercolours, sculptures, and documentation of performances and films.

In 2023 Aviva Studios, a new arts and cultural venue in Manchester, staged a show by the renowned artist called Yayoi Kusama: You, Me And The Balloons, which celebrated the artist’s inflatable artworks.