Inflatable Flower (Blue) is a playful transformation of Jeff Koons's inflatables into his cherished material, mirror-polished stainless steel. “I have always enjoyed flowers,” Koons has said. “Since taking art lessons as a child, I have had flowers in my work. I always like the sense that a flower just displays itself. The viewer always finds grace in a flower. Flowers are a symbol that life goes forward.” (J. Koons, quoted in Jeff Koons, exh.cat., Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Naples 2003, p. 157).
Playful, colorful and appealing, flowers play a central role in the artist’s work since his earliest creations. Koons merged his inflatable flowers with his mirror-polished stainless steel elevating his initial work and the presentation into a symbiotic wallwork. He has used flowers as a visual language to celebrate our most humanly expressions of sexuality and creativity; flowers embody vitality and the fragility of life, Koons’s use of stainless steel allows him to break through the tradition art historical ‘vanitas’ of 17th century Dutch still life paintings. Referencing his early inflatable flowers of 1979, if only by form, Koons once again transforms the mass-produced store-bought product and material to highly polished and elevated art object fabricated of a highly industrial material.
Koons ‘s use of the mirror-polished stainless steel demand a certain sense of immediacy from the viewer and submersion into its environment. The design of Inflatable Flower (Blue) is deliberately minimal; with such an archetypical form, we need only the most essential elements to recognize and respond to its motif. The seriality of his Inflatable Flowers recognizes the minimal elements present in his creative process. Through the use of the mirrored surface of the polished stainless steel reminds one of Robert Smithson, the flower pattern of Warhol, the symbiosis of these elements put Koons’ Inflatable Flowers on a juncture of minimalism, post-minimalism and pop. Reflecting on the Barthes ‘death of the author’ the mirrored surface allows the viewer to add to the work and reflect on his own form. “I’ve always liked inflatables because they remind me of us, we breathe and we fill up with air and it seems like that’s a commitment of some type.” (J. Koons, quoted in Jeff Koons, Jeff Koons’ World by Ingrid Sischy, Taschen, Köln. Both the viewer and the environment are engulfed in the artwork; we are at once mesmerized by the sparkling object, yet confronted with ourselves. Inflatable Flower (Blue) is a vivid example of how art allows our visual experience to be interlinked with self-reflection. “It is the tool that helps you connect and communicate - but it's about going deeper through trust in the self, into a range of archetypal images, images that are deep and important within everybody.”(J. Koons, quoted in Jeff Koons: Celebration, exh.cat., Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin 2008, p. 86).