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The artist Sir Anish Kapoor is a “rock star” of the world of contemporary sculpture and is well-known for “ArcelorMittal Orbit”, the observation tower at the heart of the Olympic Park in London, where the 2012 Games were held.
Anish Kapoor at the MUAC
His work is being presented for the first time in Latin America in the exhibition“Arqueologia, Biologia” (“Archaeology, Biology”), at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo MUAC (Contemporary Art University Museum) in Mexico City. The exhibition opened on May 28th and will stay up through until November 27th, 2016.
(Note: For English captions to these videos, click on the “cc” button in the lower right part of the video screen.)
An influential artist
Anish Kapoor is an influential artist who changed prevailing perceptions of contemporary sculpture in the last years of the twentieth century. Born in Bombay, India, Kapoor has lived and worked in London since the 1970s. In 1990 he represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize. In 1991 he won the prestigious Turner Prize.. Kapoor became the first living artist to have a show at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2009.
“The creator of The Bean of Chicago exhibits in Mexico”
A great contemporary art exhibition
“Arqueologia, Biologia” is installed on two thousand square meters in four galleries of the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC). This show that includes 23 pieces, three of which are “large installations”; is not a chronological presentation of Kapoor’s works. Instead, it offers an extended sample of them, including pieces dating from 1980 to 2015.
The 20 metric tons of Kapor’s scultural works presented in this exhibition were brought from Great Britain to Mexico in two ships. They were shipped one year in advance, to confirm that the Museum’s building was prepared to support such pieces; the building, with its modern architecture, was found capable. Given the size of the artworks exhibited, this installation could take place only in very few museums around the world.
Just the handling and movement of the large boxes that contained the objects, within the closed spaces of the museum’s facilities, required generous corridor spaces and cranes that were specially designed to accommodate the rather heavy and sometimes enormous art pieces. The exhibition at the MUAC is in fact a bigger exhibition than was Kapoor’s show at the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain, held in 2010.
The works of Anish Kapoor around the world
Anish Kapoor’s sculptures have been exhibited at the world’s major museums and galleries. Last year his works were presented at the Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center in Moscow, 2015-16. They were also shown (with great controversy) at The Palace of Versailles gardens, Paris, 2015.
To learn more about the artist and his work we would recommend watching this video from the Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center of Moscow, September 22, 2015 – January 17, 2016.
Some Ideas by Anish Kapoor
The following are some of the ideas expressed by Kapoor about his vision of sculptural art, and in particular about his work “My red homeland”, installed in Moscow:
«I am interested in sculpture that manipulates the viewer into a specific relation with both space and time. Time, on two levels; one narratively and cinematically as a matter of the passage through the work, and the other as a literal elongation of the moment. This has to do with form and colour and the propensity of colour to induce reverie. Consequently, I hope, an elongation of time. Space is as complex, the space contained in an object must be bigger than the object which contains it. My aim is to separate the object from its object-hood.» © Anish Kapoor
From his talk at the Jewish Museum & Tolerance Center and from the questions that emerged from the audience, I have written some short phrases below designed to stimulate discussion by art-savvy minds or motivated fans of contemporary sculptural art. I think these are some of his most interesting statements.
- “What responsibility is it to be an Artist? Artists don’t have anything to say. They have a responsibility. In art there is the responsibility of allowing oneself to be an idiot.”.
- “Sculpture is about the body…”
- “I have nothing to say. But the act of doing is an act of saying.”
- “In sculpture reality is present only partially.”
- “When creating one passes from not knowing to certainty.”
- “In the making of Art, when the hand is removed, when the hand of the artist is not there, something happens.”
- “An object is not just as described.”
- “Sculpture is a mystic language between the real and the non-real.”
- “Objects are not linked to their origins.”
- “Selfies” are the new whole public space.”
Dirty Corner in Versailles
- “Dirty Corner” in Versailles: This is an object which is about 60-70 meters long and about 10 meters high and it is surrounded by I don’t know 300 tons of stone or maybe more, made of rusted steel. For some reason it has been highly controversial, I don’t know why, beyond my understanding. I think it is quite a good work and it explores the idea of bringing darkness into Le Nôtres’ ordered geometric French garden…. This does the opposite. This is as if making a kind of cave in the space. I tried to make it as disorderly as possible, as if I was trying to discover what was beneath the Le Nôtre gardens, of course you know that Le Nôtre was the designer of the gardens of Versailles and I think he is one of the big French creators and artists. I am kind of poking fun at him….I have to show you this slide here. This is the second of three moments of graffiti on this work. For some reason this work offended everybody, I don’t understand why. If you put a glass on its side is that a vagina? Tell me, is that a vagina? I don’t think so. It is effectively, effectively invited this display of deeply racist antisemitic vitriol, I don’t know why. I don’t understand it, I literally don’t understand it. I won’t talk too much about this but what is extraordinary is that I have just been taken to court for displaying antisemitic material. Is so weird I just say that whoever put that material there will have to leave it there. I will leave it there. Now I just lost the case in court. I am in the process of appealing that court case. It’s almost as if somebody that has been raped is blamed for the rape. Extraordinary. Anyway we will win in the end. I am trying to understand what it is that a work of art does to the public”.
- I am not a moralist at all, I believe in the ethical position but not in the moral. The question is, is it generative?….
- “Objects live their own lives.”
- “Science keeps records. Art doesn’t keep records.”
- “The dark matter that I work with has a parallel in the universe.”
- “I am not interested in designing things, I am interested in discovering.”
- “Art can be seen as a process that doesn’t end, where tolerance is important.”
Insurgentes Sur 3000
Centro Cultural Universitario
Ciudad de México
+52 (55) 5622 6972
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How to arrive:
Descend at Centro Cultural Universitario station.
Descend at Universidad line 3 and take the “Pumabus” route 3 (green) zona cultural.
If you come by Insugentes or Periferico follow the exits Centro Cultural Universitario. If you come by Av. del Imán follow the exit that says Ciudad Universitaria. There are several parking places at the Centro Cultural.