Thursday, 19 November 2009

Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor, whose current exhibition at the Royal Academy I visited yesterday, is among the most renowned and admired sculptors in the world.   Some of his outside pieces are astonishingly beautiful and mesmerising.   The exhibition at Burlington House begins in the courtyard, with one such piece, an airy tower of shining stainless steel balls, each reflecting a slightly different view of the classic fa├žades.  

Inside he has been accorded the unique honour for a living artist of having all the galleries turned over to him.   Because many of his works are so massive, this does not mean that it is a large exhibition - on the contrary, there are only about 30 exhibits, some of which take up more than one gallery by themselves.   An enormous block of solid red wax moves imperceptibly on rails through three galleries.   A cannon shoots periodic bolts of more wax through into another room.   Extruded concrete coils, like giant wormcasts, fill a whole room.  Three more vast artworks occupy a single gallery each, and the main room has half-a-dozen of his beautiful curved and mirrored pieces.

Kapoor has said himself that he has no "message" that he is trying to put across, which leaves his mysterious voids and gleaming depths open to individual interpretation.   What was palpable yesterday was the involvement and enjoyment of the visitors, who were intensely engaged with the sculptures, animated, curious, chatting to strangers.   I am not really quite sure why, yet, but I would not have missed it for the world.

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