Arts & Entertainment

Pink Ballerina: A Dialogue With the Eternal

Jeff Koons

Lesson time 06:24 min

Jeff invites you into his stone-working facility, Antiquity Stone, to share his latest sculpture, the inspiration behind it, and the innovative technology that makes it possible.

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Topics include: Pink Ballerina: A Dialogue With the Eternal


[MUSIC PLAYING] MAN: Welcome to Antiquity Stone. This is where I've created some of my most technically advanced stone sculptures. I'm going to show you how I turned an idea from a small object into something monumental with a work called "Pink Ballerina." I've been working on this piece for, I guess, eight years now. And it will be really one of the most elaborately carved pieces that's ever been created. It comes from a small porcelain from Dresden, Germany, only about 5 inches tall, of a ballerina. And this ballerina is holding up her tutu. And her leg goes out. And it reminds me almost of Aphrodite celebrating the rites of spring. And so the pink ballerina is presenting itself as Aphrodite, celebrating her femininity, and also, celebrating mythology, and the ideas, the idea of believing in fertility, the idea in preserving what it means to be human, the idea of keeping what's important to us. Aphrodite's not just about the past. It's about the future. It's trying to find desire. It's trying to find hope. It's trying to find optimism to face the future. "Pink Ballerina" is using a lot of modern technology in its creation, starting with scanning this small porcelain. And the reason for scanning it is to be able to get all of the information. We've used a CAT scan, so we know how to make it really from the inside out. But it also gives me the freedom to make it any size that I want and to be able to maintain all the relationships and the details. So this is a model. This is a 3D-printed model of lace. And what I really wanted to capture was this sense of fabric, and of texture, and of the tensions that are within this fabric. If I would make this by hand-- and I never would have used technologies to make a CAT scan of the piece-- and to be able to get all these details of how this original lace on this ballerina would have had these holes created through the tension of that fabric, in a traditional method, the artisan, a sculptor would have come and would have drilled these holes. And they would be circular holes. And maybe they would give a little bit of an ovalur quality. But they would never have been able to capture all the tension and the realism within this fabric. [MUSIC PLAYING] "Pink Ballerina" is part of my antiquity series. And it's trying to have a dialogue with some of the great Baroque sculptors such as Bernini, or Queirolo. There's a chapel in Naples, Italy called Chapel San Severo. And San Severo has some of the most amazing sculptures that were ever created that deal with fabric. And there's an image in there of Christ lying down with a sheet over his body, crown of thorns. You can see the face and all the body features through the sheet. There's a woman standing with a cloth over her head. And you always learn in sculpting that if you're going to define a form, that if you have folds, something would go up and come down, up and down. You would never just dig deep into something. But here, on the ...

About the Instructor

One of the most important and influential artists working today, Jeff Koons is perhaps best known for his iconic Balloon Dog. Now he’s inviting you to an intimate, thought-provoking conversation about the history, purpose, and pleasures of art. Learn how color, scale, form, and texture can help you express ideas and communicate with others. Leave your self-judgment and fear behind—the world is waiting for your art.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons teaches you how color, scale, form, and more can help you channel your creativity and create the art that’s in you.

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