Estimated at approximately $12 million, the bright magenta peaceful monkey will be auctioned on June 28, 2022
June 9, 2022: Sometimes it takes quirky art to bring attention to world problems. And although Ukraine is on everyone’s mind, some radical steps are needed to help the situation. In comes artist Jeff Koons’ seminal sculpture Balloon Monkey (Magenta) (2006-13, estimate: £6,000,000-10,000,000), that will be presented for sale at Christie’s by Victor and Olena Pinchuk, to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The proceeds will be used to assist soldiers and civilians wounded by war who urgently require prosthetics, medical treatment and rehabilitation to recover.
Seeming to represent the shy and reclusive Mandrill in a peaceful, innocent pose, Balloon Monkey (Magenta) stands as a monumental symbol of hope and solidarity with those men, women and children living in war-torn Ukraine who have suffered terrible loss.
The sculpture will be exhibited in St. James’ Square, inviting audiences across the capital to come together for a moment of contemplation, from June 14 to July 3, 2022.
Balloon Monkey (Magenta) is a part of a playful series by Mr. Koons. In 2008, Koons’ sculpture Balloon Flower (Magenta) was similarly installed in St James’s Square. The artwork set a record at the time, realising $25.7 million. In November 2014, Balloon Monkey (Orange) achieved a price of $25.9 million. Balloon Monkey (Magenta) is the artist’s proof and one of five unique versions (Red, Magenta, Blue, Yellow, Orange).
Mr. Koons said, “Through my friendship with Victor and Olena Pinchuk, my life has been enriched by the people and culture of Ukraine. I have had the opportunity to visit Ukraine numerous times by myself and with my family and have always felt a strong sense of community, friendship, and history. My series of Balloon Venus sculptures are in dialogue with prehistoric Venus figurines I viewed in the collection of the National Museum of the History of Ukraine…. One of the reasons that I have always worked with balloons is that that the membrane is a reference to our skin; it’s about both internal and external life. I have been very saddened by the human and cultural impact of the war and destruction that I have witnessed in Ukraine. Balloon Monkey (Magenta) fittingly symbolizes hope, affirmation, and transcendence, and I can only hope that the donation of my artwork by Victor and Olena Pinchuk can help draw attention to the need for aid and support for the people of this country, now more than ever.”
Victor Pinchuk is a Ukrainian businessman and oligarch, married to Olena Pinchuk, the daughter of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.
Katharine Arnold, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christie’s Europe, said, “The largest and final piece in the artist’s celebrated series of balloon animals, it [Balloon Monkey (Magenta)] stands as a gleaming symbol of solidarity. The balloon animal reminds us that the ordinary course of life and its simple pleasures have been deprived from so many living through war. Exhibited in St James’ Square, I hope that Balloon Monkey (Magenta) will be a beacon of hope as we strive for a safer future together."