Balloon dogs 4 metres high, clumps of play dough big enough to engulf you and blow up lobsters dangling from the ceiling? It could only be the work of the talented and completely quirky Jeff Koons.
I have to admit that sometimes I can get too serious and feel like I lose my ability to have the imagination and playfulness of a child. So when one of my favourite Instagrammers, @rollinsonlondon posted a picture of a huge metallic balloon dog, I embraced my inner child and ran there with glee!
It was the first time that I had the pleasure of visiting the Newport Street Gallery down in Lambeth. I’d have to say the space is phenomenal and a photographer’s dream with its skylights, white walls and polished concrete floors bouncing light everywhere.
As we stepped into the first room, we found ourselves immersed in a room of hoovers. As in the kind your grandma might have used before Dysons became hottest vacuum contraption!
The only thing is that these hoovers have never been used. They have been taken straight out of their packaging and stuck in an acrylic box. So although they are dated, they are ironically still pristine pieces of art!
Further on in the exhibition we found the balloons and oh my! I’ve never wanted to touch something so badly in my life!
Balloons are a signature piece in Koon’s collections and meant to resemble humans bodies that also require air to stay ‘alive’ and inflated.
The exhibition starts with Koon’s original balloon sculptures which are cheap vinyl inflatables from the discount store.
Then you walk next door and bam!
You are hit with this insanely shiny metallic blue dog balloon that towers over you. It’s no wonder Koon’s balloon sculptures are described as ‘seductive’. I immediately wanted to do two things:
1) Get my dirty mits all over the shiny sculpture just to make sure it is actually aluminium and not squishy rubber (Don’t attempt it – the gallery staff are on to you!) and;
2) Get out a pin and try to POP that thing! Imagine the sound that would make! Yikes!
Look at that reflection (and all the people patiently waiting for me to get out of the way!).
Of course the fun didn’t end there…
We also got to visit the inflatable pool toys which look like you could throw them in the pool, but they’re also deceptively made from aluminium.
Some goes with the HUGE mound of Play-Doh sitting in the next room. A replica of Koon’s son’s ‘masterpiece’ – these 26 pieces of aluminium Play-Doh are carefully balanced so they look like they are squished together.
And just when you think the fun is over, you walk out via Pharmacy 2 and can’t help but take a peek in! You may be forgiven for thinking that this is actually a Pharmacy but it is actually a very funky restaurant disguised as a Pharmacy.
The moment you walk in, you can see the walls lined with pills and potions. Even the bar stools are shaped like round pills!
But there was no sign of nasty tasting medicine here!
I ordered the fish curry but I definitely had food envy of Mr TUQ’s chilli crab spaghetti. Pasta wins my stomach 9/10 times!
I love the concept of Pharmacy and it fits in like a glove with Jeff Koon’s exhibition! I definitely want to come back and try their cocktail menu!
Even after a few hours in the gallery, I could feel my inner child coming out! I always love when art challenges your mind and your senses and when exhibitions cater for the young and old!
The exhibition is on until October so if you find yourself in London, I’d definitely organise a time to swing by and have some fun!
And who could resist a #PAAW (picture against a wall) just for good measure on the way home!
Newport Street Gallery: Newport Street London, SE11 6AJ (Closest Tube Stations Vauxhall). Open from 10am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday.