Pumpkin spotting with Yayoi Kusama followed by a visit to the German Gymnasium


In London there are so many exhibitions, spaces and different things going on, but no exhibition is more photographed then the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Victoria Miro gallery. If you have seen photos of this exhibition you might be lazy and not go, but don’t hide behind your screens (I know that I should not be encouraging this because I would love you to keep reading my blog) but get out there and see it in real life, let me persuade you to get up and go pumpkin spotting.
Located in a converted warehouse between Angel and Old Street is one of the sites of the Victoria Miro Gallery. I first came across Yayoi Kusama when she did a crossover collection with Louis Vuitton years ago but I have never seen a lot of her work in real life. The exhibition isn’t huge but it is free and made up of sculptures, paintings and immersive room experiences.
We took the suggestion of the gallery staff to start upstairs with the pieces we were eager to see – The Pumpkins! Up a narrow staircase is a large floor space with 3 large mirror polished bronze pumpkins. A modern pumpkin patch leading to a white box where the queue formed for the magical pumpkin room – “All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins”.
We went in 2 by 2 and it was honestly a magical 15 seconds or so you can enjoy being engulfed in the land of pumpkins.
As far as the eye can see, and the perfect chance for a lot of photo opportunities. If there wasn’t so much of a queue I would have gone back in and taken more.
Invigorated by pumpkin land we couldn’t wait what else there was to see.
On the ground floor there is another room “Chandelier of Grief” which is a room with a moving chandelier and cleverly placed one way mirrors.
It wasn’t as immerse as the Pumpkins but the more you look the more repeat patterns you see around you. Plus when I looked back at the photos the Chandelier looks like it makes its own defined horizon which I didn’t notice while in the room.
Yayoi Kusama has a way to captivate her audience, each one capturing their own point of view.
Out the back of the building it opens up to a little garden area where the exhibition continues. Luckily we caught a break in the clouds so the garden box exhibit was open. A mirrored box “Where the Lights in My Heart Go” is another immersive experience, inside and out.
Make sure you don’t walk past the stainless steel spheres floating on the pond, strangely beautiful and even though there is movement on the water the spheres don’t seem to move at all.
Don’t end there! Walk through the garden and on the right is another building. Take the long walk up the narrow staircase and there is a beautiful sky lit gallery space with some of Yayoi Kusama’s canvases. From a far seemingly simple but in each piece lots of patterns. movement and shapes in each piece.
Then around the corner an illustration of her beloved pumpkin.
Aside from the pumpkins this was my favourite part of the exhibition: “The Setting Sun”.
After taking in the art, we headed outside as it started to rain a little bit. So we jumped onto a bus and made our way towards King’s Cross for some lunch. We decided to go to the German Gymnasium. Located just next to King’s Cross Station in a grade II listed building the German Gymnasium combines modern with the old perfectly.
Split over two levels, upstairs is a more formal dining space with the bottom floor serving more of a cafe style complete with a large bar, we opted for the cafe for a more informal lunch.
I wanted to try something German since it is in the title of the restaurant, there are lots of german dishes to choose from with some classics such as burgers and sandwiches mixed in. I went for a traditional smoked german wurst, complete with potatoes and sauerkraut. Mixed with some mustard it went down a treat.
Chicken schnitzel sandwich with chips for my companion.
Followed by a ‘must try’ apple strudel, perfectly wafer thin layers of pastry interlaced with apples, cinnamon and raisons. It was light and went together like a perfect marriage with the vanilla sauce.
I have to mention how beautiful are these faux marble plates? Wish I had these at home to make everything I cook look better – new plate goals!
The food all round was good. I would love to come back and try the restaurant at dinner, I bet that the whole space just transforms when the sun goes down. Or just pop back for another one of their German sausages. For more information about the German Gymnasium visit their website.
What a fun day of discovering new spaces in London, I love that even though I have lived in London for years there are new places which pop up from buildings which have been there for years which I have never paid any attention to. It is so lovely that we live in a city where people are willing to transform these spaces into beautiful places to visit – we are truly lucky!
Visit the Victoria Miro museum before the Yayoi Kusama exhibition ends on the 30th July, if you don’t come out wanting a room full of LED pumpkins then there is something wrong with you! For more information visit the Victoria Miro museum website.