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January 4, 2008

Walker Art Center: Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama
Japanese, b. 1927
Oven-pan 1963
Paint, canvas, cotton, steel, wood

This oven-pan filled with metallic gold/broze colored “yams� caught my attention with it’s anthropomorphic shapes all crammed together leaning out of the pan. The materials are interesting, because the canvas filled with cotton has a soft plushy cute look, but at the same time is painted metallic bronze, so it has a hard cast metal feel to them.

In a crude way, they look like a pan full of animated turds, but also appear to be boatpeople crossing the seas or fishermen on a fishing trip.
These yam shapes have no facial features, but seem to be animated, because of the standing and leaning gestures and head-like tips. There is a slotted spoon/fryer strainer like ladle with small pieces of “potatoes� or something. They could be the fishing net or basket of the “fishermen� on the “boat�.

I like the use of ordinary kitchen utensils used in the scupture with the appearance of traditional cast metal look/ the subject matter remains ambiguous and can be as simple as Thanksgiving Day meal yams, or illegal immigration, etc. That’s what keeps the piece so interesting.