Post-War & Contemporary Art, London, February 2014

Jeff Koons'
Cracked Egg (Magenta), 1994-2006

Cracked Egg (Magenta) is a central sculpture from Jeff Koons’ highly acclaimed Celebration series. Standing at almost two metres tall, Koons’ egg conjures a sense of wonder in the viewer, amplified through both its scale and its mesmerising reflective surface. The highly polished shell of Cracked Egg (Magenta) is split open to reveal a glistening mirrored interior. The absolute pristine perfection of the two reflective surfaces is the culmination of years of arduous research and development. Simultaneously presenting its interior and exterior, the flawlessly-polished, hyper-reflective steel makes a dazzling visual impression induced by the combination of the immaculate gleam of the magenta shell against the silvery flashes of its interior. A key work by the world’s most expensive living artist at auction, Cracked Egg (Magenta) is the most significant work by Koons to be offered in London since 2008. This is the first time a Cracked Egg has come to auction.

For Koons, 'Cracked Egg is a symbol of birth. It’s already happened so it’s about moving on and transcendence, like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. It was technically very difficult to create due to both the concave and convex surfaces' (J. Koons on Cracked Egg, 2013). The Celebration series was concerned with the cycle of life, a concept that he conveyed through the use of symbols to mark milestones in the calendar of the year and in life: birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Easter. Accordingly, balloons, flowers and Easter eggs all came to represent the best-known sculptures from the series including Balloon Dog, Tulips and Cracked Egg. Evolving from his desire to recreate the ecstatic experiences of a child’s enjoyment of the world through universal signifiers, for Koons, the egg simultaneously references birth and resurrection while also paying tribute to the joy and wonder of eating candy, one of the ultimate consumer pleasures. In this way, Koons evokes notions of desire, of seduction, of sex and of birth through the reflective surface which is deeply ‘connected to our thoughts and ambitions and desires’ (J. Koons, Jeff Koons, exh. cat., Riehen/Basel, Foundation Beyeler, 2012, p. 131).

Francis Outred, International Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, discusses Jeff Koons’ Cracked Egg (Magenta), to be offered in the upcoming Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 13 February 2014 in London.

Lot Information