Balloon Venus (Magenta) (2008 - 2012) by Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons goes walkabout

The art star tours his Brussels retrospective, explaining the sexual and artistic underpinnings of his work

There's a unusual report on of Jeff Koons' walking tour of his own retrospective, currently at the Galerie Almine Rech in Brussels. Apparently keen to bypass the usual organs of critical examination, Koons wandered about the Belgian gallery, dispensing simple explanations of his works - equal parts psycho-sexual symbolism and popular art history. He referenced the ancient Austrian fertility statue, the Venus of Willendorf, in the explanation of his own 2008-2012 work, Balloon Venus (Magenta).

"It's kind of a view of the cosmos," Artinfo quotes the artist as saying. "You have two crescent moons and you realise that it's somebody having sex, there's kind of a masculine-feminine presence, but it is only one person and they're actually having sex with themselves. The Venus of Willendorf is truly a symbol of fertility because it can procreate on its own. The Venus's breasts are full, they're voluptuous, her stomach, a real symbol of fertility. But if you look and you let your mind start to go, you realise that the breasts could actually be testicles and that the stomach could actually be a phallus and that it's actually going in on itself, and procreating."


The Venus of Willendorf
The Venus of Willendorf

He also explained his Hulk and lobster sculptures with allusions to Warhol, Dali, and fallopian tubes. For the full piece click here, and if you like what you read, consider our Vitamin 3-D book, which offers a great overview of contemporary sculpture and installation or Defining Contemporary Art which takes a revolutionary look at the history of the past 25 years in art though the eyes of curators such as Daniel Birnbaum, Cornelia Butler, Suzanne Cotter, Bice Curiger, Okwui Enzwezor, Massimiliano Gioni, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Bob Nickas.