Anish Kapoor returns to India

Anish Kapoor has brought a wide array of his creations for display to his motherland.

Akrita Reyar

“For a long time – ever since the pigment pieces – I’d been thinking of my work as potential architecture. I have always been convinced by the idea that to make new art you have to make new space.” - Anish Kapoor

Returning for the first time to India after making it big, Anish Kapoor brings a wide array of his creations for display to his motherland. The exhibition organised at two sites simultaneously, is the largest and most ambitious ever to be developed out of Anish’s work. That is one of reason he cites for coming so late.

Born in Mumbai in 1954, Anish migrated to England where he studied art in the 1970s, experimenting with assemblages, performances, paintings and drawings.

Today, Anish is one of the most acclaimed artists of the world with multimillion dollar projects like Cloud Gate in Chicago and Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center, New York becoming iconic figures. His mangled metallic work – ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’- a giant red tower - installed in London will be the Olympics 2012’s most high profile art association.

Though criticised for the lack of utility that his works have, Anish nevertheless has been audacious to think big and execute gigantic projects with minute, detailed and near perfect precision.

The exhibition in India is on display at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and has recently closed in Mumbai. The exhibitions have particularly kept the focus on bringing to the audiences a span of his career’s work done in wax and stainless steel.

Prominent works include pigmented structures which were a part of his early art work to the recent large scale wax installations. One such interesting piece is the ‘Non Object’ whose base sits on the ground and from which emerges a spire. It points to the sky and thins out to a tip no thicker than a pin.

About the dominance of the colour red in his work, Anish admits that “red” to him in many ways “represents India” and his art work is thus an extension of a part of him. The red shapes that he worked upon in the studio in London were the foundation of the surge of 3D forms that he created in a collection titled ‘1000 Names’.

His work ‘To Reflect an Intimate Part of the Red’ seems to emerge from the ground and is a play between the abstract and real narrative. In most of his creations, two corners blend seamlessly into the other and then pull apart effortlessly.

One of my favourite pieces was ‘Iris’ where Anish’s mirrored objects use reflections to camouflage themselves in their environment and appear like holes in space. The supporting structure of the Iris is concealed, and the concave mirror sinks into the all in which it is set. The Iris’ highly polished surface reflects its surroundings, distorting and reproducing them in miniature creating a feeling of illusion.

Besides two or three real installations, most of his other projects have pictures and miniature versions of the same exhibited alongside. Visitors can also watch a film on Anish as a part of the special screening being organized at the exhibition venue.

On Display till February 27 February at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Jaipur House, India Gate, New Delhi 110003. Hours: Tues-Thur 10-5; Fri 10-8; Sat-Sun 10-5. Closed Monday and National Holidays.

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