a tale of a few cities

Anish Kapoor, Leviathan

Posted in architecture, Art, Installation, Interiors, paris, Photography, Sculpture by petercombe on May 13, 2011

Each year the Ministère de la Culture et Communication invites a leading artist to create a work that responds to the exceptional architectural space of the Grand Palais in Paris. The sheer monumental scale of the building provided the inspiration for Monumenta.
This year, Indian-born, British-based artist Anish Kapoor has created a temporary, site-specific installation (much larger than his Marsyas, 2002, installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern) inside the nave of the glass-domed hall. The space was originally unveiled at the 1900 universal exhibition. For its fourth edition, after guest artists Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra and Christian Boltanski, it has been the turn of Anish Kapoor to meet the challenge with a brand new work for the 13,500 m2 space.

Visitors to the Grand Palais will first use a revolving door to enter inside ‘the belly of the beast’, a four-chamber balloon, bathed in red light, which the artist says he hopes has a cathedral-like quality. I am reminded of Niki de Saint-Phalle’s Hon, 1966, Moderna Museet, Stockholm which I compared to an earlier architectural collaboration between Kapoor and Amanda Levete Architects (the Monte St Angelo Subway station in Naples). It is as if the interior of Kappor’s Leviathan presents a womblike element or some sort anatomical organ system.

Once you enter the second part of the exhibition, the exterior of the sculpture appears to bear no relation to the interior. They co-exist simultaneously. That’s what the work is about,’ says Anish Kapoor.

‘I think there is no such thing as an innocent viewer. all viewing, all looking comes with complications, comes with previous histories, a more or less real past. abstract art and sculpture in particular, has to deal with this idea that the viewer comes with his body, and of course memory. memory and body come together in the act of looking. I’m really interested in what happens to meaning in that process: as memory and body walk through, take the passage through any given work, something happens, something changes.’
Anish Kapoor

The cost of this exhibition is estimated around 3 million euros. 

Anish Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954. He lives and works in London.

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