Monday, 21 December 2009


Imagine, BBC 1 Anish Kapoor

Is it that I am a Textile Designer that I did not know about the work of Anish Kapoor. I have been overwhelmed by his work and his words.

“You can’t set out to make something beautiful – I mean, you can’t. What you can do is to recognize moments when it’s there and say ah – that is something I could go after or I could leave it alone”.
As the first artist to be given the whole Royal Academy, his exhibition is of great magnitude.

“The hard bit is how not to compromise”, he said.

In May 2009, on the South Downs, Brighton, he created the amazing ‘C Curve’, which looks like stainless steel or aluminium which mirrors and reflects landscape and people. Upside down on one side – ‘like a spoon’.
“I am very concerned with the ability of art to say, ‘come on in’, experiential. Not just something you look at but a process you go through. One level – engage – another level, seriousness”. He is very interested in the perfect finish of his pieces.

Work resonates, that simple but poetic quality – that’s what I am looking for”.

‘Living Sky Mirror’ a polished disk which reflects the moving sky. (£1.3 million pounds)

“You can look at it for hours and never see the same thing”. “Extraterrestrial quality, Beguiling – mercurial – puzzling”.

2002 Tate Modern “Marcius” huge red trumpet, staggering complexity and scale. 1.8 million people visited.
A Dutch shipbuilder made ‘Hive’ a huge iron piece formed out of curved plates. Couldn’t make up his mind whether to leave it black or rust it. It was rusted, a beautiful red.

As an Iraqi Jew, he worked in a Kibbutz after going to India’s Eton. Eventually, he was accepted at Hornsey School of Art. ‘Artist’ felt overly serious'. he said.

Affected by Indian culture, watching block printers and fabric dyers, he came back to England to working with pigments, sculptures in brilliant colours in powder form. He felt this was the first time his pieces had a voice. He didn’t have to sell them. A source of wonder. “Pigment and shape are one, sensual”.

“Body” a huge warehouse of scarlet parts which people could walk through and experience.

I so empathise with his comments on the colour red (which he uses a lot). “Red makes a kind of black, a kind of black that blue doesn’t. It’s a black you see when you close your eye. It’s something you know intimately and it’s that ‘knowing’ that is the real subject of the work”.

Ralph Rugoff-Director of the Hayward Gallery said “A lot of his work is like a void – a space without boundary – it never feels like empty space. It always feels weighted and with some life. A lot of the work happens in relation to your response to it”

Homi Bhabha, Harvard University said. “One is always on the brink of being both inside the work and outside the work. You are literally placed in relation to the void on an edge between what you know and what you don’t know. He engages not only the eye, but the nerves and the emotions. It is as if it is four dimensions instead of 3”.

The logistics of transporting and creating 'Scarlet Funnel' on hillside overlooking the sea in New Zealand, so majestic, is almost impossible. "Vagnarian leaning towards the grand"

Yellow Hollow’ - ‘Yellow, 1999. B
brilliant canary yellow and so perfect.

“I think one has to have the courage to sit in an empty studio and wait for something to happen. And work, and play, and experiment and try some daft idea out”.

HIS ANALYSIS. “It helped me to understand an inner life properly - seriously, and saying, ‘It is the thing from which all emerges’. Without it there is nothing but at the same time, it’s not on display.

'Cloud Gate', Millennium Park, Chicago. The Bean. Estimate 3m. Budget 9m. Cost 23m! Amazing huge bean, alloy? Mirrored skyline etc. Smooth and uncomplex on the outside, womblike inside. Stunning.

It seems to me there is no other reason to be an artist. If I know what I know and you know what you know and I tell you what I know, who cares. My instinct is that making work is about daring to go to something I don’t know and hoping that in going where I don’t know, you, the viewer can go where you don’t know too”.

Psycho Drama’ A piece at the Royal Academy, showing a cannon shooting scarlet wax through an archway onto a wall. “Blatently Sexual”, he said.

“I don’t particularly have anything to say as an artist. I don’t have some grand message that I want to give you. To me the work is neither abstract, nor is it not abstract. It sits in between meaning and no meaning. Apparently, it’s just a form and then perhaps It’s not a form. It looks like, feels like something I know. The route to meaning may not be direct”.

‘Wax Train’ ‘Spiam’. (Self generating train).

‘Slug’ 2009. Red ‘vagina’ and white ‘worm’ (sperm?)

“Just as you can’t make something beautiful, or set out to, you also can’t set out to make something spiritual. What you can do is to recognize it may be there. It normally has to do with not having too much to say. There seems to be space for the viewer. And that’s something we sometimes identify as being spiritual, and its all about space".
And why does the work of Anish Kapoor affect me so much?
I started the Masters Degree so that I may 'step out of my box', the box which stamps me as a surface designer and he has moved me into the possibility of 3-dimensional imagery, a sort of 'Zen' of sculpture, of pure geometry.

No comments: