Jeff Koons Review at Newport St gallery
This is a collection of Koons work that has been created by his friend Daimen Hirst. This is the first time this much of his work as been shown in the UK. And for anyone who hasn’t seen his work it does give a good all-round view of his intentions. Most people have a love hate relationship with this work; some parts of it are thought provoking and other parts just a bit boring and cold.
This show is covering the whole of the six gallery spaces in the Newport gallery building and even though many of the pieces are huge in size it does seem rather sparse and cold, rather than purely minimal. Koons isn’t the only one to make work like this and he wasn’t the first, to use ready-mades to create art, so those that put all the blame on him as to why the public hate modern art like some critics do, is mindless and boring. As this work is worth seeing just for the shear scale and quality of the fabrications in the various metals he uses.
We must accept and appreciate that artists now can and will use anything that comes to mind to explain, show, and narrate their work. As both Duchamp and Koons say, “ the viewer always finishes the work of art, they always have the last word.” Thats how modern art should be, its about the viewers interpretations and expectations not the artwork or artist.
This exhibition is a pick-n-mix of his work starting with the Hoover ready-mades and ad paintings before moving on to the giant balloon monkey, some soft-focus porn, a giant bowl of eggs, basketballs suspended in water, framed posters, inflatable lobsters and a huge pile of Play-Doh.
Among this exhibition is work where he is tacking sexuality although not in the best way, he wants to show the ideas of love and fidelity with various symbols. This you can see within his soft porn fantasy photos with his ex wife. Trying to depict Adam and Eve or Venus and Adonis. This also displays a kind of inflated ego, and of man being dominant, as we know it’s him, he is on top the woman missionary position in one photo and she is depicted as subservient in the other. If he really is trying to depict everyman, everywoman then this doesn’t work. On the other had if his is trying to preserve a moment in his own life then maybe it does.
Although he uses the ideas of consumerist throw-a-way ready mades, he turns these into permanent fixtures that are in no way shape of form throw-a-way.
There’s a deeper meaning. An almost insecurity within his work, he is questioning life and death and how transient it is. He is trying to preserve and protect the things/ ready-mades around us by recreating them in almost indestructible ways. Like inflatable’s in steel, basketballs as specimens.
His work is not purely about the object but it’s also about how that object relates to the person, human nature and our relationship to life and its meanings. How we see ourselves within them and what they remind us of. Most of his creations flow well with this theme of life and objects, and his longing to preserve these for as long as possible.
It’s this life and object connection where some of my ideas and work come from too. Life, death, love and hate the consumerism that fuels these thought feelings and ideas that create these objects and gives them meaning. Everyone is different and everyone’s ideas are different we project onto these objects what we want to see, just like society projects what it wants us to see and do. Our aim as artists is to question these ideas, allowing the public to expand and question their own thinking. As Koons work is to preserve mine is to explore the destructions we create.
Love or hate his work, Koons has maintained an eye for the iconic and kitsch. These are powerful, works that couldn’t have been made by anyone else.