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Jeff Koons accused of copying Ukrainian sculpture

Jeff Koons accused of copying Ukrainian sculpture
Image: The Art Newspaper / Twitter

31 May 2017

American artist Jeff Koons has acknowledged reproducing a porcelain figure by Ukrainian artist Oksana Zhnikrup for his 45-foot-tall inflatable sculpture Seated Ballerina.

Installed at New York’s Rockefeller Centre on 12 May, where it will be on display until 2 June, Seated Ballerina depicts a blonde ballerina wearing a blue tutu sitting on a stool to adjust her blue ballet shoes. Shortly after the sculpture’s release, Artdependence magazine approached Koons for comment on his work’s striking resemblance to a porcelain figure by the Ukrainian artist Oksana Zhnikrup (1931 — 1993), who worked for the Kiev Experimental Art Ceramics Factory.

While the original publicity material for Seated Ballerina stated that the work was inspired by a porcelain figure “found at a Russian factory at the turn of the 20th century”, a representative of Koons’s studio admitted that the artist was aware of the similarities.

“We are aware of Oksana Zhnikrup’s work and have a licence to use it for Mr Koons’s work,” the spokesperson stated.

According to a report by The Art Newspaper, many social media users have called for the sculpture to be re-installed in Kiev, while Odessa-born artist Alexander Roitburd posted on Facebook that he was “glad that [Koons] is popularising Ukrainian art”.

Source: The Art Newspaper