Optical illusion abounds in the MCA exhibition and then there is his use of red that reappears for all its emotional and physical associations. A point of reference for some of Kapoor’s work has been Titian’s painting The Flaying of Marsyas, a Greek myth of a Satyr being stripped of its skin.
The red wax installation below is constantly reshaped as the central blade turns and scrapes more wax to the outside perimeter of its 12 metre circumference. It occurs to me now that maybe they have to keep the whole thing warm to keep the paraffin wax soft enough to be flexible, or is the pressure of the blade enough to keep it moving, but there I go again thinking about how things work.
The world of Kapoor is very red and maybe that is why I gravitate to it, no there are many more reasons with more substance about why I like his work. When he uses colour it is in monochromatic fields and another feature is that many of his works are so monumental it is difficult to take in the entire work. But this is often because he wants you to experience the work in another way, by creating a way for you to enter and become part of the work. Most of the exhibits in Sydney though are not as overwhelming as those he created at the Tate Modern in London or the major show I saw at The Grand Palais in Paris.
On the end of the steel sculptural object that resembles a Bell Buoy is a connection to the wall and when you are on the other side of the wall you can look into the cavity. We were alerted to the hidden space when we ran into a friend of Celia’s who is none other than the head of the Exhibition installation staff.
Kapoor does not necessarily want you to see the progress or technology behind the works but there were two screening rooms showing documentaries on his ideas and practice. But if you are viewing his works for the first time, you not immediately aware of the process but if you stay in front of the work long enough (the average person stands for about 10 seconds in front of a work) you find there is more…
It was fun to visit this exhibition with my friend Celia who has done her own blog of the show. We were able to take more time looking and discussing what we were seeing. If I had been on my own, I may not have had as much fun, and fun is what this show is about. We delighted in watching children messing about with the images and indulged in some of our own posing.
My friend Celia reflected above. Everyone was taking photographs and none of the staff at MCA stopped us. When people want to take photographs at an exhibition it is usually because they are very impressed and want to share with their friends or view again later. I get annoyed at galleries that prevent this. I know copyright and all that but artists want their work to be seen and we all know who the plagiarists are don’t we.
The final work is the first work you encounter if you arrive on the Circular Quay entrance. A cloudy day in Sydney so the sky was dull and the Kapoor Sky Mirror told the same story. The work is all about the place where it is located, it reflects the immediate environment. The installation of this exterior work can be seen by all for free. What I like about the sky mirror is that it is like watching a movie in slow motion but unlike a movie it is in real life time.
An extra snippet of information: When Doug Hall retired as Director of the Queensland Art Gallery his tenure was honoured with a sculpture of Anish Kapoor’s purchased in his name for the collection. I cannot think of a greater honour for someone in the visual arts in the 21st century.
Whilst you can look at these pictures on the blog, you are being cheated, there is so much more to see once you are there and I am not going to tell you what to look for, you must go and see for yourselves. Click here for MCA – In the event that you are not in Sydney at this time then just put Anish Kapoor on your list when he comes to a gallery near you!