Yayoi Kusama Pumpkin 2019

A New Acquisition by Japan’s ‘Princess of the Polka Dot’ To Be Unveiled Today, Sitting Alongside Jaume Plensa, KAWS, Inge King and Reko Rennie in Australia’s Largest Private Sculpture Collection

The work of Japan’s most successful living artist Yayoi Kusama (born 1929) will take centre stage on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula from this weekend, as Pt. Leo Estate unveils the first major-scale pumpkin sculpture to be seen in Australia.  

The Kusama acquisition marks a milestone moment for the Estate, continuing to add to its collection of the world’s most coveted works of contemporary art and enhancing the sculpture park as a standalone art destination. With a backdrop of rolling vineyards and ocean views out to Western Port Bay and Phillip Island, the expansive grounds feature over 50 mainly large-scale sculptures from around the world.

We are thrilled to announce that Australia’s foremost Sculpture Park at Pt. Leo Estate has acquired a red and black Pumpkin. At three-metres wide, the monumental work is much larger than Kusama’s iconic Naoshima sculpture and enjoys a spectacular Victorian coastal vista as backdrop,” says Pt. Leo Sculpture Park Consultant Curator, Geoffrey Edwards, of the work. 

In August 2021, the art world was aghast to watch news footage showing the Japanese artist’s famous yellow and black pumpkin sculpture washed out to sea in a typhoon off the coast of Japan’s Naoshima art island.  That pumpkin, by far the largest ever made by the artist at the time, was later retrieved, remade and returned to the end of its iconic pier. 

Kusama’s world-famous pumpkins are odes to the artist’s childhood experience living on a small farm imagining that she was lost in a field of flowers that began to speak to her. The massed flower heads resembled the dots that became  an obsession for the mature artist, who had drawn pumpkins from a young age and decades later became an important and recurrent motif in her multidisciplinary practice.

“I am very pleased to showcase my work in such a wonderful place. The magical fusion of nature and my work is something special that can only be seen in each location,” says artist Yayoi Kusama of the Pumpkin at Pt. Leo Estate.

Created larger than life in bronze, mosaic and stainless steel, with apertures often cut out of their surfaces to create dot-pattern plays with light and shadow,  the new red and black Pumpkin will be installed in technicolor splendour at Pt. Leo Estate with the trailblazing Japanese artist the latest to join KAWS, Jaume Plensa, Inge King, Bronwyn Oliver, Reko Rennie, Julian Opie, Deborah Halpern, Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Clement Meadmore, Jeppe Hein and Andrew  Rogers

With the Pt. Leo Pumpkin and its red and black polka dots first conceived in 2019, nonagenarian  sculptor Kusama said of her celebrated motif, “A polka dot has the form of the sun…a symbol of  the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm.  Round, soft, colourful, senseless and unknowing, Polka dots become movement…Polka dots are  a way to infinity.” Similarly, she admires the ‘humility and comfort’ of the form of the pumpkin  itself. 

Kusama has been feted in major museums and galleries around the world including The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Guggenheim (Bilbao), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SF), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles) TATE Modern (London), David Zwirner (NYC), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo), Yayoi Kusama Museum (Tokyo), M+M Museum (Hong Kong) and most recently The Art Gallery of NSW’s Sydney Modern  (Sydney) and many more.

Pt. Leo Estate’s major new acquisition will be unveiled at Australia’s foremost sculpture park at  Merricks, Victoria on 24 November 2023. Visitors to Pt. Leo Estate can visit the work from  Saturday, 25 November. Soon to be announced are different tributes to the Kusama aesthetic that  will form part of the Point Leo Estate Experience.