A feat of technical virtuosity and a centrepiece of the landmark Celebration series, the artist’s mirror-polished stainless-steel sculpture is offered in London on 4 October
Cracked Egg (Blue) is a centrepiece
Jeff Koons’ sculptural practice. Standing more than one and
a half metres high, its cleaved, vibrant blue shell returns
our gaze in immaculate, mirror-polished stainless steel.
This feat of technical virtuosity was engineered over a 12-year
period between 1994 and 2006, and is a key work in Koons’ landmark Celebration series, alongside masterpieces
Balloon Dog and
Tulips. Originally conceived as a small
project in 1991, the Celebration series has since
developed into Koons’ most elaborate to date, comprising
20 monumental sculptures and 16 large-format oil paintings.
Cracked Egg (Blue) is one of five Cracked Egg sculptures
from the series, each of which is finished with a unique
colour coating in either blue, red, violet, yellow or magenta.
Their pristine curves, saw-tooth edges and the near-impossible
thinness of the double-sided shell are the culmination of
years of intense research and development into the technical demands of its creation.
The idea for the Celebration series arose when Koons
was working on a calendar for the dealer Anthony d’Offay. ‘I took my camera and I shot some balloon tulips on a reflective background,
and I made a balloon dog, again on a reflective background,’ the artist has explained. ‘I bought a hanging heart with some gold ribbon from a shop
window I saw on Lexington Avenue. I shot these different images and soon realised that this
was too good, that I had more than a calendar here. I had
a whole body of work.’
The Celebration series, which takes childhood and
the cycle of life as its central theme, assumed a fresh resonance for Koons after the birth of his son in 1992. Accordingly,
the project revolves around objects that represent milestones
in the calendar year: flowers for spring, for instance; balloons
for birthdays; hearts for Valentine’s Day; and eggs for Easter.
‘It’s about moving on and transcendence, like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus’ — Jeff Koons
Easter, with its connotations of birth, resurrection, fertility
and creation, holds particular significance for Koons. In
Cracked Egg (Blue), as the artist has explained,
the birth itself has already happened: ‘Whatever was born
has moved on but the remnants and the grandness of its participation
remain… It’s about moving on and transcendence, like
Botticelli’s Birth of Venus.’
As with Koons’ early Equilibrium (1985) works, the Cracked Egg sculptures are a fusion of opposites, casting a fragile, ephemeral object in a durable, solid medium. While the egg’s symbolic connotations might call to mind grand,
existential ideas, its lustrous coating and piercing colour
— evocative of candy wrappers and balloons — also suggests
notions of consumerism and desire.
Cracked Egg (Blue) will be offered on 4 October in
Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction at