Vintage shop has date with modernism

A LITTLE bit of Harrogate is going on display at the Tate Modern next month.

Furniture from Harrogate’s vintage shop Sissy Jupe is featuring in a major exhibition at the Tate Modern in London.

The pieces have been bought for an installation by Yayoi Kusama, often described as Japan’s greatest living artist. The artwork called I’m Here but Nothing consists of a contemporary room covered in a spotty effect, and the contents of the room change for each show.

This time, some of the furniture will be from Harrogate.

At the centre of the installation will be a 1950s Ercol table and chairs, a little 1930s octagonal coffee table, two other 50s chairs and a coat stand - all from Sissy Jupe Vintage & Handmade Market in Harrogate. For the show the Tate Modern team will apply luminous stickers to the furniture to create a spotty effect.

Kerstin Doble, installation assistant at the Tate Modern, was visiting Harrogate in November when she discovered Sissy Jupe tucked upstairs above The Deli and the Yorkshire Farmers’ Meat Company on the corner of Oxford Street and Beulah Street. After trying on some dresses, she looked at the 1950s furniture, and realised it would work perfectly for the Yayoi Kusama installation. The room is supposed to be furnished in a popular contemporary style, and since retro is the style of the moment, Sissy Jupe’s furniture fits the bill perfectly.

Yayoi Kusama, now in her 80s has been creating art for 60 years, with work in all sorts of media including painting, sculpture, film and performance. She achieved notoriety in the 1960s with her touring happenings.

In 1969 she staged a protest “orgy” in the outside pond of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Kusama spent the 1960s in New York alongside such artists as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenberg before returning to Tokyo in the 1970s.

Since 1977 she has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric institution, and her work reflects her obsessive mental state. She uses her art to share her visions of a world obscured by endless repeating patterns of dots and nets.

Kusama has never been held back by her mental state, and has been able to turn her obsessions into an industry - merchandising her spotty goods. She features in February’s Vogue magazine, and is collaborating with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton on an large scale fashion and accessories line.

The Yayoi Kusama show runs from February 8 to June 5 at Tate Modern.