Review: ‘My Humble Pumpkin Pie’ – Yayoi Kusuma

Art & Culture

If the orange glow of Kusuma’s pumpkins haven’t taken up your Instagram feed this past month you’re clearly following the wrong people, either that or you would rather not spend your Saturday queuing for hours outside the Victoria Miro Gallery and head to the pub instead. Nevertheless the immersive experience of the mirrored rooms have almost become a staple selfie for most Londoners this summer. After countless recommendations, I decided to eat my humble pumpkin pie and head towards the orange glow. 

 At 87, the Japanese polymath, named amongst the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine, remains one of the most important artists of our time. Yayoi Kusama life reflects the theatrical and vibrancy of her work. She has staged polka-dot orgies, naked anti- tax protests, challenged gender fluidity way before me and you and  pioneered the free the nipple campaign; what may seem timid now was ferociously radical in the 1960’s male dominated art world. The acclaimed ‘Polka dot Princess’ has lived in a psychiatric ward by choice since 1977, due to nervous disorders and hallucinations stemmed from a turbulent childhood. 

‘All the eternal love I have for pumpkins’ is part of her ongoing series My Eternal Soul, first beginning in 2009, taps into Kusama obsession with finding the infinite and sublime through her art. The sheer isolation of a mirrored room is definitely the humble slice of pie I needed. 

Arriving at Victoria Miro late Tuesday morning, the queue spiraling down the street, was enough to make the yummy mummies head straight to the Mcdonalds next door, little Tarquin may get his first happy meal after all. For those of us who stuck it out, the LSD fuelled pumpkins awaited.

Inside the gallery the masses of people or should I say cattle continued, I am even tempted to moo as we snake around the little space, eager to see what’s inside pandora's box. I’m ashamed to say I wasn't the only one who checked if Victoria Miro was a pokestop. 

Upstairs a trio of bronzed polished pumpkins guards the immersive pumpkin room. Yayoi’s obsession for pumpkins doesn't stem from the hope of a carriage appearing like in Cinderella, but a sort of comfort, her family cultivated seeds for a living in Japan, ‘pumpkins always made me smile, they are the most humorous vegetable.’

The bronzed pumpkins were comical, witty and comforting, yet the amount of people that neglected them to head straight in line for the immersive rooms was strange. I heard a group of young girls dissapointed it was only two at a time in the room and for 20 seconds, they all wanted a picture together. It appears her work has been ambushed by external egotism in a selfie driven society. 

Now my turn to step in the room. A harvest of yellow and black dotted pumpkins lay beneath my feet, whilst life size me runs into the distance from every reflected angle. Yusama’s has created an addictive world of sheer isolation and magic, I’ve been won over by the haze of the orange glow. 
The doors swing open, flooding in the natural daylight and suddenly the orange glow is gone, I’m stood in a small box shaped room. The next people clamber into the room; I think I may of just made it into their snapchat story. It's now their turn to experience their 20 seconds of sublime. 

My piece of humble pumpkin pie was tasty, however the people at Victoria Miro that day left a slight bitter taste in my mouth. 


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