Caterpillar (with Chains) (2002)
About this artwork
‘Caterpillar (with Chains)’ is from Koons’s 'Popeye' series of sculptures, which relate to the artist’s earlier vinyl inflatables from the late 1970s. Cast in aluminium and coated in bright paint, this work creates a masterful illusion of an inflatable beach toy. The caterpillar appears as weightless as the original object on which it was based and suspended from eight coated steel chains. Koons has described the creature in terms of “celebration and childhood”, encouraging his audience to find new value in this everyday object. However, despite his claims for a return to childish discovery, the caterpillar’s red chains may also recall symbols of repression and violence.
- title: Caterpillar (with Chains)
- accession number: AR00079
- artist: Jeff KoonsAmerican (born 1955)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Sculpture
- materials: Polychromed aluminium and rubber coated steel
- date created: 2002
- measurements: 47.00 x 194.50 x 110.00 cm
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © JEFF KOONS
Koons was born in Pennsylvania. Before becoming an artist he worked as a successful commodities broker on Wall Street. In Koons's early work he displayed everyday items such as vacuum cleaners and basketballs in glass cases, making them both aesthetic objects and social icons. In so doing, the artist raises questions of consumerism and taste. He has also exhibited kitsch items made on an enlarged scale from materials such as porcelain and polychromed wood. Both Koons himself and the everyday items in his work become commodities. The artist himself featured in a number of sexually explicit photographs and sculptures.