Anish Kapoor Exhibit

A and I finally managed to get to the Anish Kapoor exhibit at NGMA before it got over. I had seen one piece by the artist ath the 2009 Art Summit in Delhi, and of course photographs of his work have been appearing for a while now, but I didn't really know what to expect. I was very curious, because I had heard rave reviews from Mumbai and yet Manjula Padmanabhan's review said that it was almost frighteningly isolationist in terms of dwarfing human experience with scale - art without heart.

As for the exhibit itself, most of the pieces here are models of work that is installed or in progress elsewhere, so in that sense, while one gets an idea of what he is doing, one doesn't get the full experience. There were one or two smaller pieces though, and the one that got A and me hooked was titled triangle mirror. It was a rough circle, composed of hundreds of triangularly shaped mirrors, about 2 inches a side, pieced together like a stained glass piece. And it was magical. It drew one in instantly, and we and other people at the museum spent a good while approaching the work from up close and farther away. After a few minutes, one couldn't tell where one left off and the work began, and the real surroundings around us began to blur and the disparate images in the mirror seemed to be becoming more real...

NGMA airs a documentary that plays continuously through the day about Anish Kapoor and his many works. We saw that after we had walked through the exhibit, and that's when the pieces fell into place, because one gets a better idea of the scale of his work, and the experience of it. His entire oeuvre is about drawing the spectator into the work of art, to make him or her an integral part of the artwork and to transform the artwork into an experience rather than a display.

I thought it was such a humanizing and interesting take on art, which otherwise can be quite detached from the viewer, since it primarily exists to state the creator's point of view or worldview. His architectural artworks also blur both time and space, distorting or stretching them, and that's reflected in the fact that his structures are never linear, they all have the most wonderfully spherical or tubular forms, intertwining in unexpected ways, with exits and entrances in surprising places.

I found I disagreed thoroughly with Manjula Padmanabhan's take. Cathedrals, especially gothic ones built during medieval times are isolationist structures, were meant to overawe mere mortals into fear of and submission to God. Kapoor's works are very much about transforming the human experience of linear things like time or space, and about making the human interaction part of the art itself.

I would highly recommend the exhibit to everyone, especially the documentary. I'm looking forward to seeing some of his work 'in real' as Chubbocks would say.


Swati said…
I wished there was more of it too. The models looked either too simple, or silly - and I wondered if it was worth coming, but then when you see his illusionist works, wow! I liked the way he manages space, makes you wonder about it.

I was looking for something to do with black carrots that wasn't kanji, and found you. I just made the halwa, and it is delicious, although I may just have burned it a little bit because I was also on the net :( Still, I'll make it again! That paneer looks fab, must get it, or better, make it sometime. And will explore more on your various blogs when I have time.
bird's eye view said…
Swati - The exhibit was so wonderful, I'm dying to go see one of his installations in real life. I'm glad you liked the black gajar halwa, and let me know if you like the paneer as well.

Thanks for visiting my blog
chandni said…
I've been hearing things about him.....highly curious to check out his work....wonder how i can do that in Delhi currently?

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