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Equilibrium

 

"White middle-class kids have been using art the same way other ethnic groups have been using basketball for social mobility. You could take one of those basketball stars, 'Dr. Dunkenstein', or the 'Secretary of Defense', and one could have been me, or Baselitz or whoever".

At his first gallery solo exhibition in 1985, Jeff Koons presented a new series that addressed the theme of personal and social equilibrium. He created several bronze sculptures representing elements related to survival, such as lifeboats, life jackets or an underwater breathing apparatus. By casting them in bronze, Koons made these objects seem immortal, full of air and life, and yet the weight of the metal makes it impossible for them to float as they are supposed to, turning them into deadly devices that underscore the impossibility of achieving a state of equilibrium between life and death. Jeff Koons also sought to achieve balance in works that feature basketballs floating inside water tanks in a delicate equilibrium that can be upset by temperature fluctuations or vibrations. To design them, he consulted with Nobel laureate physicist Richard P. Feynman. There is an obvious parallel between these works and equilibrium in life, which no one can maintain eternally. Koons strove to convey a similar message with Nike posters in which star athletes, primarily basketball players, are depicted as models of success, improvement, and social equilibrium.

One Ball Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. JK 241 Series), 1985
Glass, steel, sodium chloride reagent, distilled water, one basketball
164.5 × 78.1 × 33.7 cm
Edition no. 1/2
Private Collection
© Jeff Koons