Sonia inaugurates Anish retrospective at NGMA

New Delhi: The fruition of a 10-year-old dream unfolded at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here Saturday evening when Congress president Sonia Gandhi inaugurated a historic retrospective exhibition of Anish Kapoor, one of the world`s best-known contemporary artists.

The three-month exhibition split between Mumbai`s Mehboob Studio and the NGMA here is a chronicle of Kapoor`s artistic of career of more than three decades featuring 25 large and small installations. Kapoor is known for his public space art which adorns cities around the globe.

While the exhibition in the capital showcases on Kapoor`s cultural and architectural art including his early works with pigments, wax and resins - the exhibition in Mumbai features his new mammoth installations in wax and stainless steel.

The idea of the exhibition was sown 10 years ago when Kapoor discussed the prospect of a retrospective with the NGMA director.

Inaugurating the exhibition, Gandhi said: "Few artists of our times have captured the imagination of the world as Anish Kapoor. Last year, the Royal Academy of London made him the first living artist in the world to hold a solo exhibition in all its galleries. Many of us in India have heard about his creations and have seen pictures... but after 10 years we have the chance of seeing. Anish Kapoor`s sculpture has broken new ground."

"Kapoor`s work explored illusion and reality, darkness and light ...and was not only aesthetic, but also stretched our imagination because they simultaneously captured the mystery of artistic creation and the mystery of being," she said.

"I hope to see one of Anish Kapoor`s public art in one of our cities. In our country, public spaces have so little public art," Gandhi added.

The exhibition has been brought to India by the ministry of culture, the British Council, the London-based Lisson Gallery and the NGMA. It is being supported by the Tata group and Louis Vuitton.

The exhibition was facilitated by a "first-ever cultural pact that India inked with Britain in July this year and the fact that the NGMA has a new state-of-the-art exhibition wing," Culture Secretary Jawahar Sircar said in his keynote address.

According to British High Commissioner Richard Stagg, "it was one of biggest manifestation of British culture in India since 1947".

The NGMA spread over seven acres is hosting 12 big works and four small works by Kapoor.

The 56-year-old Mumbai-born Kapoor, who left India in 1973 to train as an artist in London, said since the 40 years, he has been away from Mumbai and India, he has "internalized and mythologized his country".

"My India has found a voice in my art. It is very emotional for me coming back and to bring the works back," Kapoor said, addressing the select gathering of artists, gallerists, foreign envoys, writers and corporate representatives.

"It was difficult to put together the work together - each part of the process was important," Kapoor said.

The Turner Prize-winning artist, nominated as the Britain`s 2012 Olympic artist, has been commissioned to design an "iconic visitors` attraction" at Olympic Park, `The ArcelorMittal Orbit` in Britain. The public art installation will be the high point of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Some of the sculptures on display include "To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red" (1981), a sandstone and pigment installation of a doorway weighing at least five ton, Iris , a stainless installation (1988), S-Curve (2006) and his signature installation, "Shooting Into The Corner"
(2008-2009).

IANS

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