Jeff Koons’ original ballerinas by Oksana Zhnikrup

The exhibition of the genuine statuettes “Ballerina Lenochka” and “Ballerinas before the performance”, that inspired Jeff Koons to make his amazing installations all over the world, is organized in Moscow and will also be held in St. Petersburg and Paris. This event is dedicated to the release of a new Raketa model “Ballerina”, designed by the first soloist of the Bolshoi theatre Anna Tikhomirova, as well as to the triumph of the work of the Russian-Ukrainian sculptor Oksana Zhnikrup and her famous statuettes. Jeff Koons. From soviet “kitsch” to Louis Vuitton bags design Most Russians have learned about the most expensive contemporary artist Jeff Koons only when he became a designer of Louis Vuitton. He printed the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci and Peter Paul Rubens on the accessories made by LV. In the west, Jeff Koons has long been known for his sculptures in “kitsch” style. Since 2010, the main theme of his work has become ballerina. “Ballerinas” were produced in numerous copies, sold for millions of dollars and exhibited in major museums and galleries of the world. However, no one noticed that this sculpture is an exact copy of the work of the Russian-Ukrainian sculptor Oksana Zhnikrup. Jeff Koons’ Ballerinas are exhibited in Paris, Miami, London, Buenos-Aires and other cities. In 2017 Jeff Koons made his 13-meters-tall “Seated ballerina” in front of the New York’s Rockefeller Centre. Since 1974 the statuette “Ballerina Lenochka” by Oksana Zhnikrup is easy to find almost in every house of the soviet citizen. Soviet roots of Jeff Koons’ triumph The creator of the “Ballerina Lenochka” that inspired Jeff Koons was a Russian-Ukrainian sculptor, Oksana Zhnikrup. Born in January 1931 in Chita (Siberia), she graduated from the sculpture department of the Odessa Art College. Then she worked as a sculptor at Kiev Experimental Ceramics and Art Factory (KEKHZ), where, among other works, the triumphant statuettes of the “Ballerina before the performance” (1961) and “Ballerina Lenochka” (1974) were created. Bolshoi theatre celebrities became Raketa designers The Bolshoi theatre stars – Artem Ovcharenko and Anna Tikhomirova were the first to notice similarity in the works of Jeff Koons and popular Soviet statuettes. Not only the “Seated Ballerina” was copied in detail, but the previous work of Koons “Ballerinas” is an exact copy of the statuette of “Ballerina before the performance” by Oksana Zhnikrup. They told about that to their friend, Soviet art collector – Count Jacques von Polier, the creative director of the Watch Factory “Raketa”. By this time, the count has already collected the largest collection of ballerinas – the prototypes of Jeff Koons’ works. “I am so proud that contemporary art would not exist without Russia at all. Kandinsky and Malevich were the first creators of abstract art and nowadays the popular art of “kitsch” was born in Russia”, says Count Jacques von Polier. That’s how the idea to make an exhibition was born that will also be honored to the release of a new collection of Raketa watches “Ballerina”. Exhibition tour: 05/06/17 – 24/06/17 – “Ballerinas” in Raketa Creative Studio in Moscow 25/06/17 – 23/08/17- “Ballerinas” in Raketa boutique at Tverskaya street, Moscow 01/09/17 – 30/09/2017 – “Ballerinas” in Raketa Watch Factory in Peterhof 01/10/17 – 30/10/17 – “Ballerinas” at Place Vendôme in Paris.