Article contains adult images.
There are always so many exhibitions on in London and I love to go to a new one whenever I get the chance to. This time a friend who I was staying with suggested a Jeff Koons one. And I was intrigued! The name sounded so familiar and I was excited to see a new exhibition. And as soon as I seen his ‘balloon animal’ I knew exactly who he was.
Each room through the exhibition holds something new and to me stands on it’s own. They showcase over 30 works from 1979 to 2014. When you first enter some of the smaller pieces are on display such as the ‘Inflatable Flowers’ and ‘Snorkel Vest’ and then in room two was my favoutite. Room two houses the huge piece the Balloon Monkey (Blue). This piece appears like it is one of those inflatable balloon that you can get created at parties but it is actually made from stainless steel and is highly reflective. It is so impressive when you see it – there were quite a few gasps when people entered the room. It does take on a slightly different connection when you view the piece from above…
The next room did not allow any photos – mainly due to the explicit nature of the work on display. There are two very provocative artworks on the wall – one with him making love to porn star Ilona Staller and then another with Koon’s wife from the Made in Heaven series. These leave nothing to the imagination and certainly not for the prudish! The room also houses his ‘Bowl with Eggs’ piece.
The following room housed a number of pieces such as a tank with three basketballs, ‘Three Ball 50/50 tank’. The three basketballs float exactly half submerged in the water which is interesting to view. There are also numerous artworks and the ‘Italian Woman’ sculpture – I really enjoyed this piece. And also – one of the most interesting pieces in the room is the J.B. Turner Train – each part contains 75cl of whiskey!
The final two rooms were probably the most fun out of the exhibition. They house multiple ‘inflatables’ in various pieces. These pieces were simply fascinating and I think that we spent the most amount of time looking at these. They look just like the inflatables that you would buy for a beach day BUT they are cast in aluminium!! I could not get over the detail in these – from the safety warning writing to the material creasing that you would get from a normal inflatable. Honestly, it was so hard to see that these are not just plastic – the detail is just so meticulously done.
There was also a 27 piece artwork that is called ‘Play-doh’ and is held toeather by the weight of the pieces themselves. All the parts slot toeather and the piece is just huge. The size and detail that Koon creates in his pieces is why I love his work. Often he has been called controversial but I think it is a fun, modern take on what is often a series discussion. I also find it interesting that he says that there is no story behind many of the pieces – that slightly sterile feeling is not something you see often.
The exhibition itself was held in Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery. The gallery itself is such a fantastic space. High ceilings (one with a ceiling height of eleven meters!), white washed walls and airy openness is all part of the experience. The gallery was Hirst’s way of sharing his art collection with the public. And the pieces on display are from his own collection.
The construction of Newport Street Gallery involved the conversion of three listed buildings, which were purpose-built in 1913 to serve as scenery painting studios for the booming Victorian theatre industry in London’s West End. With the addition of two new buildings, the gallery now spans half the length of the street!!
Sadly, the exhibition is now closed (I caught it on one of it’s last days) but the next exhibition is GavinTurk called ‘Who What When Where How and Why’. Also, on a side note this space also houses the unique, very much in demand Pharmacy 2 restaurant that Hirst opened in collaboration with Mark Hix . You can read more about the gallery here.
On a sidenote, if you do want to see more of Jeff Koons there is currently an exhibition at Almine Rech Gallery in London until January 21, 2017. Read more about it here.