In 1977, aged 22, he begins by making kitsch scenes with toys and objects. On the following year he imagines inflatable flowers and rabbits and builds them in painted vinyl. In 1980 his first exhibition entitled The New is an application of the ready made conception in a simulated trade show of household electrical equipment.
He must now find an artifact and a theme that would appeal to visitors from all social classes. Basketball, this sport from yard to competition, meets this requirement by its ability to generate champions while using some very simple equipment.
He acquires balls of Spalding brand but it is not foregone to amaze the public with such everyday pieces. He decides to display them frozen in flight with no visible structure like in a sports photograph. Or like a cosmic planet.
This is of course not possible. Yet it happens. Dr. Feynman who was one of the most brilliant physicists of his time indicates him a chance. In 1985 after two years of trials, Koons puts his balls in aquariums filled successively with saturated salt water and pure water. The two densities do not mingle and the ball stands still at mid height of its showcase. After several weeks some maintenance will be required.
The Equilibrium exhibition is the first success for Jeff Koons. Its central work is a minimalist tank with a single ball. The technique is demythified by so called "50/50" tanks in which the ball floats at the same height on a visible surface of water. Bronzes and posters on the theme of basketball complete the appeal.
On May 8 in New York, Christie's sells as lot 21 A One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (Spalding Dr. J Silver Series). On 12 May 2014 the same auction house had sold for $ 6.9 million including premium a similar artwork with two balls of the same type.
The Equilibrium Tanks mark the first encounter between Jeff Koons and advanced techniques, anticipating the development of the reflective layers of his Celebrations.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's.
SOLD for $ 15.2M including premium