7.20.2008

Anish Kapoor in New York

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Anish Kapoor at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery, through August 15. Reflection and distortion challenge your spatial perceptions, so you back up, edge forward, circle around and repeat, engaged by the illusion and the reality of the massive forms before you

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I first saw Anish Kapoor’s work in 1990 at the Venice Biennale. He was representing Britain, and his work filled that country’s “pavilion,” a small building that consists of gallery rooms. (Each represented country has a building of its own design that remains permanently on the ground of the Giardini, the gardens, where the Biennale is set.) There were a number of sculptures, abstract forms of human scale.

Looking at my photographs from the exhibition reminds me that there was a room of carved stone blocks, about three feet in any direction, with voids of various sizes in their centers, so that as you peered in you didn’t know just how deep or shallow the negative space was. There was a disc the diameter of an armspan covered in midnight blue pigment; you couldn’t tell if it was concave or convex and you didn’t want to get too close because of the powdered pigment on its surface. And there were piles of that same midnight blue pigment; looking at these I remember thinking, “Yves Klein at a spice market.”

I’d never heard of this artist, but I responded to the simplicity and materiality of his work. Since then I’ve encountered his work, as I'm sure you have, with increasing frequency. The surfaces are always interesting; and more than most dimensional work, his forms challenge your spatial perceptions of dimension and direction.

These concerns continue in two recent exhibitions at the Barbara Gladstone galleries in New York City. Red predominated in Gladstone’s 24th Street “flagship” space
(the show is now closed); reflection and distortion in the 21st Street space, where the show remains on view until August 15.




Anish Kapoor at Barbara Gladstone. My shot of the installation is above, showing Drip, Double Corner, and in the foreground, Bloodstick. All are resin and paint

A gallery shot of Bloodstick is below, where you get a better sense of the color and of the scale, some 401.57 inches--a little over 33 feet long




Read my whole report, A Tale of Two Cities: Anish Kapoor in Boston and New York, at the ARTtistics blog.

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2 comments:

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks for those photos of Anish Kapoor's work. Bloodstick's surface looks like encaustic.

I just love the Critical Phrase Generator! Thanks so much.

Joanne Mattera said...

Blood Stick's surface looks like encaustic from a distance, but up close it's more resin-y (and it has a slightly acrid smell).

In my longer post over at the ARTtistics blog, I include a link to Kapoor talking about his work (it's toward the end of the post, after all the pictures). As he's speaking, there's some footage of workers painting the sculpture, and the liquid looks shiny and resinous.

Yes, that Critical Phrase Generator is very funny.