a tale of a few cities

Anish Kapoor Blows Off UK Now

Posted in Art, artists, boycott, China, London, Photography, politics, protests by petercombe on June 16, 2011

(Photo: Johnny Shand-Kydd)


LONDON. Anish Kapoor has cancelled plans to present his sculptures at the National Museum of China in Beijing, in protest against the continuing detention of Ai Weiwei. He had been asked by the British Council to consider a show at the newly renovated museum in Tiananmen Square as part the “UK Now” festival in China late next year.

Kapoor’s spokeswoman confirmed to The Art Newspaper that he had been invited to China, but “he is not going to proceed in view of the detention of Ai Weiwei.” Ai, an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, was arrested in Beijing in early April for alleged “economic crimes”.

Discussions began about a potential exhibition at the National Museum of China last October, when two directors of London’s Lisson Gallery (which represents Kapoor, stand 2.1/K12 at Art Basel) were in Beijing. Provisional plans were subsequently made for Kapoor to travel to Beijing this month to view the space and talk with the museum. The idea would have been to mount an exhibition with a major new work.

Kapoor has been outspoken in his criticism of the Chinese government’s treatment of Ai Weiwei, since his detention on 3 April. On 10 May, when he opened his Leviathan installation at the Grand Palais in Paris, he dedicated it to the Chinese artist, describing his detention as “barbaric”. Once Kapoor had spoken out, it was realised that his participation in the “UK Now” festival would be difficult. A British Council spokeswoman stressed that the exhibition proposal had been at “a very early stage, and until he had seen the space we could not have proceeded”.

British Council chief executive Martin Davidson believes in “freedom of cultural expression”, but is keen for the programme to go ahead. He commented: “It is through cultural exchange that we best demonstrate the benefits of free artistic expression and build supportive links between people in the UK and China.”

The Art Newspaper >
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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.

Christian Boltanski at Grand Palais Paris

Posted in Art, Collage, Installation, paris by petercombe on May 3, 2010
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