Typhoon in Japan washes Yayoi Kusama artwork out to sea

Worth $3 million, the sculpture has been 'severely damaged'

Artwork by Yayoi Kusama has been swept into the sea and damaged
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An artwork by artist Yayoi Kusama has been washed out to sea during a typhoon in Japan. In situ since 1994 in Naoshima, Kagawa Prefecture, the distinctive yellow pumpkin-shaped sculpture – decorated with black polka dots – was smashed into pieces when it was swept into the sea during Typhoon Lupit earlier this week.

Despite being one of Kusama’s largest artworks, at over 1.8 metres tall and 2.4 metres wide, the force of the waves picked it up, and video footage shows it tumbling into the water and being knocked into the pier. The owner of the piece, Benesse Art Site Naoshima, told The Art Newspaper that it hoped the work could be recovered and eventually repaired.

“We have already collected the parts and we are about to inspect the damage and also [assess] if it’s possible to recover the work. We are willing to re-exhibit the work on the same spot but we don’t know how long this [restoration] process will take.”

It went on to explain that the work was “severely damaged”.

Twitter user @ppdisundia posted footage of the work being buffeted by waves.

A popular draw among visitors since its installation, it was the first sculpture that Kusama created specifically for public consumption. Yayoi Kusama’s work will be familiar to some in the UAE, with the artist having shown at the Sharjah Art Foundation in 2017.

Updated: August 12, 2021, 2:27 PM