Towering above the room, the ballerinas appear to have the delicacy of glass Christmas baubles which break all too easily, yet are solid and made of hard steel. Like glass baubles, their curves create reflections everywhere, of visitors as they move around them, of the lights which project onto them and of the paintings on the walls which themselves have further reflective balls.
Grosvenor Hill in Mayfair is growing as a new place for art galleries. First the Gagosian appeared, currently showing work by American artist Ed Rushka; and now, newly opened in time for the Frieze Art Fair, Jeff Koons has taken over Alime Rech’s Gallery on the ground floor of the Broadbent House development by ORMS architects, following on from the retrospective exhibition of his work at Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery.
Here are Koon’s newest works. The gallery, designed in the stripped “White Cube” aesthetic, is dominated by the the shiny ballerinas, over-size copies of ornaments that used to be sold in Woolworths and other shops and sat on many fireplaces across the United States, which are surrounded by reflective blue balls on iconic sculptures and paintings that have had significant meaning to Koons including Boucher’s Reclining Girl, Titian’s Pastoral Concert, Tintoretto’s The Origin of the Milky Way, Jacques-Louis David’s Intervention of the Sabine Women, Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan, Giotto’s The Kiss of Judas, Spranger’s Jupiter and Antiope, Goltzius’s Hercules and Cacus. and Marcel Duchamp’s bottle drying rack
Koon’s works are astonishingly good copies of the originals, albeit the size has been changed to be less monumental. Apparently Koons uses computer analysis to map out the colours and the brushstrokes, even the decaying plaster in the Giotto masterpiece, to which is added a shelf in the same colours and the blue glass reflective spheres – almost like religious symbols being presented to the viewer whose reflection is captured and incorporated into the work as he or she looks at it – the artwork and the viewer are joined together in space and time.
Broadbent House is a discrete development designed by architect ORMS, which spans from Grosvenor Street to Grosvenor Hill, in which the gallery has its minimalist entrance. This is a gallery you need to know you want to visit.
Inside is a good space with minimalist finishes, concrete ceiling and white walls and flexible lighting that focuses on the art. This week’s private view was apparently so popular that people were spilling out onto the pedestrianised street, across to the Gagosian; it is great to think that the two galleries might work together to create “art-nights”.