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IDEAS / art

Yayoi Kusama. Pumpkin Magic

19 February 2018

words:  Natalie Donat-Cattin

photos:  Jian Yong Khoo

“I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland” – Yayoi Kusama

The pumpkin often has a connection with the magical world. In Cinderella, it turns into a beautiful white carriage, darting towards the dance. In the same way, it could easily be one of the strange and wonderful inhabitants of the Lewis Carroll world – out of scale, context and with no apparent purpose. If the pumpkin could talk it would ask non-sensical questions while giving absurd non-answers.

Kusama uses this object to provoke us, to create a reaction, to remind us that the world should be looked at with children’s eyes – with a sense of curiosity and of overturning conventions. It indulges us to shape it in our dreams: change it in size, exaggerate it, enlarge it, shrink it. Her works offers us carte blanche: they are endless fairytales, objects abandoned in nature and space in order to stimulate our imagination.

The pumpkin comes from the earth and eventually detaches from it. In Naoshima it sits on a pier, between the beach and the sea. As every man, it yearns to the horizon, still tied to its roots. It stands out on the blue background thanks to its bright yellow colour, shining between the sky and the sea. It is a small point in the universe, reminding us of our humanity yet inviting us to dare, to go further.

“In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die: Ever drifting down the stream- Lingering in the golden gleam- Life, what is it but a dream?” – Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

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architasters / project by Natalie Donat-Cattin and Jian Yong Khoo. It is a platform for speculation and discussion, functioning as a complementary repository for their design work.