Yayoi Kusama’s Pumpkin Returns to Serpentine

Serpentine and The Royal Parks unveiled a new large-scale sculpture by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Located by the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens, Pumpkin (2024) is on view from 9 July to 3 November 2024. 

Pumpkin (2004) on view in Kensington Gardens is Yayoi Kusama’s tallest bronze pumpkin sculpture to date, standing at 6 metres tall and 5.5 metres in diameter. Installed prominently by the Round Pond, Pumpkin (2024) can be seen from a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives creating an intriguing dialogue with the surrounding environment of the Park.

Pumpkin (2024) marks a return to Serpentine for Yayoi Kusama which was the location of her first retrospective exhibition in Britain in 2000. This major survey included paintings, collages, watercolours, sculptures, documentation of performances and films, all of which explored Kusama’s obsessions with dots, nets, food and sex.

Known for her immersive installations, large-scale sculptures and intricate paintings, Yayoi Kusama often features kabocha, or pumpkin, in her work. Since 1946 Kusama’s pumpkins have taken many forms, colours and shapes, but their surfaces are consistently covered in the artist’s signature repeating polka dot pattern.

Kusama’s relationship to the kabocha is rooted in her childhood: the artist’s family cultivated the plant’s seeds, and their home was surrounded by fields of this squash.

Pumpkins frequently appear as stand-ins for self-portraits. Kusama admires them for their everyday quality, hardiness, and unique, frequently humorous forms.

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

Since it launched in 1970, Serpentine has had a long-standing commitment to bringing art out of the traditional gallery context and into the surrounding landscape, offering an opportunity for artists to engage with the immediate environment of Kensington Gardens.

Kusama’s Pumpkin situated at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens is the latest in a long-standing series of remarkable public presentations in The Royal Parks since Serpentine’s foundation in 1970 which includes the recently inaugurated STRIP-TOWER (2023) by German luminary Gerhard Richter currently situated on the outdoor plinth at Serpentine South. As part of the public art programme, Atta Kwami’s mural DzidzƆ kple amenuveve (Joy and Grace) (2021-22) is extended to 30 September 2024, and will remain on display at Serpentine North, according to Serpentine authorities.