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One of Yayoi Kusama's Giant Pumpkins Is Taking Up Permanent Residence in an Australian Sculpture Park

Victoria's Pt Leo Estate is adding one of the Japanese artist's three-metre-wide gourds to a collection that already includes Jaume Plensa, KAWS, Inge King and Reko Rennie.
By Sarah Ward
November 24, 2023
By Sarah Ward
November 24, 2023

Yayoi Kusama's dots, obliteration rooms and pumpkins are rarely far Australia's shores, whether via kaleidoscopic solo exhibitions, pieces in other showcases, infinity rooms popping up in multiple places or documentaries about the Japanese artist. Your next way to get your Kusama fix on home soil is going big. Huge, in fact. Towering, even. And it's putting one of her giant pumpkin sculptures in the best place possible: a garden.

When this gourd is normally found among the greenery, it doesn't usually measure three metres in length. Pumpkins aren't typically red, either, or covered in black spots. The Kusama Red and Black Pumpkin that's joining Pt Leo Estate is all of those things, however, as well as a massive new drawcard for the Victorian venue.

"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," said Kusama about one of her pumpkins taking up permanent residence on the Mornington Peninsula.

"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," added Pt Leo Sculpture Park Consultant Curator Geoffrey Edwards.

The Naoshima pumpkin has attracted a crowd to the Japanese art island since being installed in 1994, but was washed out to sea in a 2021 typhoon. A new piece that keeps with the same yellow and black design joined the site in 2022, and still gets tourists flocking. Or, you can now head to Victoria.

Kusama's Red and Black Pumpkin is made out of bronze and stainless steel, and covered with Kusama's beloved dots, a recurring motif across her work. She's been making pumpkins for decades to nod to her childhood experience on a small farm. Art lovers around the world have been feasting their eyes on the results ever since.

At Pt Leo Estate, Kusama's giant and colourful work joins more than 50 fellow works across the grounds, including pieces by  KAWS, Jaume Plensa, Inge King and Reko Rennie.

When you're not peering at art while wandering around the 134-hectare estate, you can enjoy a meal at the Pt Leo Estate Restaurant, fine-diner Laura and the Wine Terrace, plus some vino from the cellar door and wine shop.

Find Pt Leo Estate at 3649 Frankston-Flinders Road, Merricks, with Yayoi Kusama's Red and Black Pumpkin available to see from Saturday, November 25. Head to the venue's website for further information.

Images: Chris McConville.

Published on November 24, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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