Yayoi Kusama’s iconic pumpkin carving in Naoshima, Japan was washed away by storm


Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s iconic yellow pumpkin carving on Naoshima Island was dislodged on Monday due to strong winds and high typhoon tide, and has been removed for restoration, the company confirmed. ‘art exhibition.

Typhoon Lupit made landfall Sunday evening in southwestern Japan, where Naoshima is located, bringing heavy rains and high winds throughout Monday.

Videos surfaced on social media of Kusama’s “Pumpkin” being swept from the pier, overturned and tumbling to shore as waves knocked it over.

Benesse Art Site, the exhibit that houses “Pumpkin”, confirmed in a tweet Monday afternoon that the sculpture had been damaged by the typhoon and had been removed so that it could be restored. The exhibition said it will make an announcement once the work is on display again.

The “Pumpkin” at the far end of Naoshima Pier remains one of the island’s most recognized images, with its vibrant yellow and black polka dots juxtaposed against the bright blue water in the background.

Since its installation in 1994, the “Pumpkin” has become a staple of the Benesse Art Site of Naoshima, also known as the Art Island of Japan, known for its museums of modern art and architecture, and exhibitions. sculptures and modern installations around the island. The sculpture is approximately two meters high and just under 2.5 meters wide. It was one of the largest pumpkins that Kusama, known for its colorful shapes and patterns, had made at the time, and it was his first outdoor sculpture, according to the Benesse Art Site Naoshima.

Kusama went on to create outdoor sculptures, mostly pumpkins, in cities around the world. Pumpkins have been a source of “radiant energy” and “inspiration for the artist since her childhood, when she was surrounded by her family’s seed nursery in prewar Japan,” according to the Smithsonian.

Yellow pumpkins featured prominently in Kusama’s 2017 “Infinity Mirrors” exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, and a version of the “Pumpkin” was on display outside the museum throughout the exhibit.

The “Pumpkin” was temporarily moved before a typhoon to protect it from potential damage. An Instagram video posted in 2019 by Guesthouse Umikko’s account, located near the art exhibit, showed workers manually lifting the pumpkin and carrying it in the back of a truck before a typhoon hit.

On Monday, however, it emerged that the winds and waves picked up unexpectedly. Several staff at the art exhibit watched as the waves rolled into the sculpture at high tide, local media reported.

The Washington Post

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