Art@Site Yayoi Kusama The Pumpkin

Yayoi Kusama


The Pumpkin

Marunouchi naka
In-depth discussion about a pumpkin
I see a shapeless mass burst with circular openings. On top there is a disc with a curved tube.
I know that Yayoi Kusama likes to work with pumpkins. Therefore I assume that a pumpkin is expressed. In my essays I don't want to know background information but like to reflect on the object I see. That’s why I try to forget that this is a pumpkin.
I must forgot that it is possible to cut a slice of a pumpkin. And that we can make holes in this slice in the same form as the circles on the outside of the pumpkin. That’s why you can say that each piece of nature (including a pumpkin) can be perforated, painted, magnified by human. And then you can say a lot about the malleability of the world and human's place in it. But I will not do this. I only see a shapeless mass with circular openings, a disk and a tube.
What does Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama to me? In comparison to the shapeless mass, the environment is straight, organized, full of functional meanings.
Pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama can lead to an in-depth discussion and can also give a refreshing way of looking.
By Theo,

Diepgaande discussie over een pompoen
Ik zie een vormeloze massa met daarin ronde openingen. Daarop bevindt zich een schijf met een gebogen buis.
Ik weet dat Yayoi Kusama graag met pompoenen werkt. Daarom ga ik ervan uit dat dit een pompoen voorstelt. In mijn essays wil ik niet uitgaan van achtergrondinformatie maar houdt ervan om te reflecteren op het object dat ik zie. Daarom probeer ik te vergeten dat dit een pompoen is.
Ik moet vergeten dat het mogelijk is om een plak van een pompoen te snijden. En dat in deze plak dezelfde cirkels gemaakt kunnen worden die aan de buitenzijde van de pompoen te zien zijn. Want daarmee kun je zeggen dat elk stukje natuur (dus ook een pompoen) door de mens geperforeerd, beschilderd, uitvergroot kan worden. En dan kun je veel zeggen over de maakbaarheid van de wereld en de plaats van de mens daarin. Maar dit doe ik allemaal niet. Ik zie gewoon een vormeloze massa met ronde openingen, een schijf en een buis.
Wat doet mij Pumpkin van Yayoi Kusama? In vergelijking tot de vormeloze massa is de omgeving recht, georganiseerd, voorzien van functionele betekenissen.
Pumpkin van Yayoi Kusama kan aanleiding zijn tot een diepgaande discussie en kan ook een verfrissende manier van kijken opleveren.
By Theo,
The Pumpkin, Yayoi Kusama, in Marunouchi naka Street, Tokyo, Japan
Spiral Sikku, 2007, Osamu Kido
Yayoi Kusama (Kusama Yayoi, born 22 March 1929) is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. Her work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.
Raised in Matsumoto, Kusama trained at the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts in a traditional Japanese painting style called nihonga. Kusama was inspired, however, by American Abstract Impressionism. She moved to New York City in 1958 and was a part of the New York avant-garde scene throughout the 1960s, especially in the pop-art movement. Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, she came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. Since the 1970s, Kusama has continued to create art, most notably installations in various museums around the world.
Following the success of the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1993, a dazzling mirrored room filled with small pumpkin sculptures in which she resided in color-coordinated magician's attire, Kusama went on to produce a huge, yellow pumpkin sculpture covered with an optical pattern of black spots. The pumpkin came to represent for her a kind of alter-ego or self-portrait Kusama's later installation I'm Here, but Nothing (2000–2008) is a simply furnished room consisting of table and chairs, place settings and bottles, armchairs and rugs, however its walls are tattooed with hundreds of fluorescent polka dots glowing in the UV light. The result is an endless infinite space where the self and everything in the room is obliterated.
In Yayoi Kusama’s Walking Piece (1966), a performance that was documented in a series of eighteen color slides, Kusama walks along the streets of New York City in a traditional Japanese kimono with a parasol. The kimono suggests traditional roles for women in Japanese custom. The parasol, however, is made to look inauthentic as it is really a black umbrella painted white on the exterior and decorated with fake flowers. Kusama walks down unoccupied streets in an unknown quest. She then turns and cries without reason, and eventually walks away and vanishes from view. This performance, through the association of the kimono, involves the stereotypes that Asian American women continue to face. However, as an avant-garde artist living in New York, her situation alters the context of the dress, creating a cross-cultural amalgamation. Kusama is able to point out the stereotype in which her white American audience categorizes her, by showing the absurdity of culturally categorizing people in the world’s largest melting pot.