To celebrate the opening of Tate Modern’s major autumn exhibition Pop Life: Art in a Material World, a giant 53 foot (16 metre) helium balloon by Jeff Koons has been unveiled in Covent Garden, London…and it just happens to be a stones throw away from our London gallery.

It is the first time that Koons’ Rabbit balloon has been shown in the UK and its residency in the Market Building marks a new relationship between Covent Garden and Tate Modern.

Jeff Koons created the large-scale silver balloon for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2007 in New York. He modelled it on his iconic metre-high stainless steel sculpture Rabbit 1986. The silver rabbit was floated down the streets of Broadway through the crowds to celebrate the occasion. Both the original sculpture and a film of the balloon in Macy’s Day Parade are included in Pop Life: Art in a Material World.

Koons, who has become arguably the largest blue chip contemporary artist, started creating sculptures using inflatable toys in the 1970s. Taking a readymade inflatable rabbit Koons had the object cast in stainless steel, playing on the tension between weight, material, and transcendence, whilst also merging high and low culture. Koons's work draws on a variety of sources often taken from consumer or popular culture.