For Yayoi Kusama, pumpkins have been a lifelong source of fascination. She was first drawn to them in childhood, citing their “generous unpretentiousness” and “spiritual balance,” and has explored them continually in her painting, sculpture, installation art, and poetry. They first appeared in her work in the 1940s and have been the subject of some of the most important works of her career. Today, polka-dotted pumpkins are synonymous with the artist and her idiosyncratic style.
Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart is among her most recent such sculptures. In it, Kusama pushes the polka-dotted pumpkin to new extremes. For her, polka dots represent self-obliteration — not in a destructive sense, but as a means of merging the individual with the larger universe. As we navigate the sculpture’s massive five-stem form and undulating walls, we are invited to share in the artist’s admiration for this symbol which embodies peace and joy.
This work is not part of Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love and is included in your general admission ticket.
Header image: Yayoi Kusama, Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart, 2023, (installation view, SFMOMA); collection Fisher Art Foundation; © YAYOI KUSAMA, courtesy the artist, Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner; photos: Don Ross