Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Jeff Koons at The Serpentine

I went to the Serpentine Gallery today to fuel my unqualified contempt for Jeff Koons. Rather irritatingly, I found his exhibition strangely substantial, if rather self-congratulatory. Koon's Popeye series involves cartoons (including Popeye himself) overlaid with sexualised images in pictures (porn, underwear) and extraordinary sculptures, inflatable swimming aids and toys cast in aluminium and arranged with banal ready-mades (bins, chairs).

And there are chains. Less chains as fetters, more chains to accentuate the contradiction of a metal sculpture that's rendered and painted to look as if it were filled with nothing but air. When I visited there was the extraordinary sight of two small girls holding helium filled balloons standing in front of an 'inflatable' monkey-chain sculpture suspended from the roof, static through its mass. The tension was enough of an experience without looking for narratives or meaning.

Naturally, one of the traditions of visiting the Serpentine's Summer exhibition is to take in the temporary Pavilion that stands outside. This year's (pictured above) is a polished metal gazebo by Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa. And it's rather good in my opinion.

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