Archive | 20:30

The Balloon Flower at Ground Zero

11 Sep

Ink drawing: Jeff Koons' balloon flower.


I’ve never had much time for Jeff Koons’ work, I had thought it superficial and cynical until one of my visits to New York City when I finally made it down to the World Trade Centre. It was difficult to see the construction at Ground Zero because of all the fencing and the crowds of people milling round, but then I walked up onto a bridge above the area and I was shocked at the hugeness of the site and the depth of the hole in the ground.  What I’d seen on television didn’t prepare me for this, for the extent of the destruction.


I walked around the area and there was a small plaza with Jeff Koons’ massive red polished steel sculpture, Balloon Flower [Red], reflecting everything about it. I’d only seen Koons’ work before in magazines or TV documentaries, never in context and in this case, context is everything.  The sculpture is beautiful, uplifting and fun and is a wonderful antidote to the sadness that you feel when you see Ground Zero and remember what happened.  If we allow ourselves to remain sad and not experience laughter and joy then the tiny minority of fanatics in our species will have won.


This ink drawing was done in Faber Castell Pitt pens into a Tate ‘landscape’ sketchbook. The World Trade Centre construction site is in the background.





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