Jeff Koons - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Sonnabend Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    Oslo, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Jeff Koons Retrospective, September 4 - December 12, 2004

  • Literature

    A. Muthesius, ed., Jeff Koons, Cologne, 1992 (another example illustrated); M. Woltmann, Jeff Koons Retrospective, Oslo, 2004, p. 58; R. Rosenblum, J. Koons, The Jeff Koons Handbook, London, 1992, p.158 (another example illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is a depiction of two mythological figures; the troll and the mermaid fused into a single gleaming sculptural work. There is little of the femme fatale in Jeff Koon's Mermaid Troll, as the figure is incongruously asexual and almost childlike. The artist has chosen to strip "her" of all suggestion and innuendo, endowing the work with caricatured features resulting in an asexually comical effect. This is both heightened and contrasted, however, by the artist's choice of material; the stainless steel adds weight to the object and engages it with the feminine allure of the reflective surface, adding a sex appeal in the surface of the material. Ironically, this sculptural work recalls the chaste and polished nature of a Brancusi, an indication of the artist's penchant in borrowing from European traditions.

    The work belongs to the Statuary Series, and eschews "sophisticated" aesthetical standards. Mermaid Troll has been given a deliriously vapid expression contributing further to a look that is undeniably kitsch. Like other great Pop Artists, such as Warhol and Lichtenstein, Koons has brought popular media into the "art world" forcing the viewer to confront the everyman aesthetic. Deriding as unimportant that which is considered tasteful or "taste" has been a mainstay throughout Koons' career. According to the artist, art should be representative and unlimited in its scope. Consequently, in the Statuary works, Koons transforms commercial and historical icons into clean sleek objects of art, blurring the line between banality and artificial hyperbole. Such a luxurious depiction of what is otherwise considered in the art world to be "aesthetically grotesque" exposes the vulnerabilities of the hierarchies of artistic representations and value systems, testing the limits between high and low culture. Jeff Koons uses his work charismatically to dismantle prejudices and reconcile opposites.


Mermaid Troll

Stainless steel.
20 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 in. (52.1 x 24.1 x 24.1 cm).
Stamped with the foundry mark “ALFCO-NY” on the reverse of the base. This work is from an edition of three plus one artist’s proof.

£350,000 - 450,000 

Sold for £512,800

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm