Another point on view on Jeff Koons’s exhibition in Paris
Saturday I went to the center “Georges Pompidou” in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. I saw the original and colorful work of Jeff Koons a contemporary illustrator, painter and sculptor. Born in York, Pennsylvania, on January 21, 1955, artist Jeff Koons made a name for himself by using everyday objects in special installations that touched on consumerism and the human experience. Some of his art has consisted of overtly sexual themes while others have been seen as a form of neo-kitsch, such as his balloon dogs.
During the exhibition, we can see different pieces using several materials : first his well-known chrome stainless steel sculptures but Jeff Koons used also porcelain, polychrome wood, polychrome aluminium, etc…
I have chosen to analyse one well-known piece of his collection : the Balloon Dog.
The Balloon Dog is one of the most famous pieces of Jeff Koons. Since 12 November 2013, Jeff Koons has held the sale price record of work for a living artist. Sold at auction in New York, his orange version of the Balloon Dog reached 58.4 million of dollars. An absolute record for this 60-year-old American. This Balloon Dog exists in five copies of different colors, it is a giant replica in chrome steel of these little animals made in balloons that you can find for some euros in the street. The creations of the artist are linked to childhood due to many aspects:
First, with the representation of animals which are quite particularly liked during this period. It is common that the child asks for a pet such as a dog and it is why the artist creates numerous Balloon Dog which arouse nostalgia in the grown-up spectators. These sculptures echo their childhood, a time when they did not know the worries of adult life.
Then, the material and the color of the works; they also contribuate to this will of finding its memories and feelings back. The bright and plain colors are indeed the characteristics of his drawings: the children will tend not to shade them. A child will not bother himself with representing a dog with such color. These hues also refer to balloons which are also colorful.
Thirdly, if animal-balloons are represented in this way and not in a realistic way it is because we can find them during the carnivals or funfairs. Once again, it is the place which the children appreciate and it is completely the kind of memories that they can bring back home. These animal-balloons are important for them who perceive them as objects difficult to realize. It is likely that the adults, contemplating these works, had them between their hands during their childhood and Koons tries to make them feel the same feelings as they did then.
Finally, the last element is the brilliant surface of statues. At first, it can, by far, give the illusion of transparency as real balloons in the shape of animals. The reflections can actually persuade that we see what is beyond the statue, but it is opaque in fact. Closely, it is once again a reference to the childhood with the activity of the distorting mirrors in the carnivals.
These elements that we meet in this Balloon Dog, also remind us of the definition given of the kitsch. The public is pulled in a crowd of memories and past feelings by looking at the sculpture.