London Art Reviews

Magazine of art press and reviews from London

Anish Kapoor great exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London.

David Franchi – Monday, 11th May 2015.

Installation view, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, London, 25 March - 9 May 2015,  Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

Installation view, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, London, 25 March – 9 May 2015,
Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

The exhibition of Anish Kapoor at the Lisson Gallery, London, was fascinating.

Anish Kapoor made a drastic return to painting, marked by this exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, London.

Moving far away from his usual style, Anish Kapoor has produced works that are connected to the body, or parts of it. At the Lisson Gallery, the exhibition is a continuing project that examines the body and the control of it, and also its dichotomy with the mind.

The Lisson Gallery exhibition displays new large canvases with livid red and white resin and silicon paintings, which are the result of an exhaustive creative development. These works have different level of interpretation, bringing to mind both the raw internal parts of the body but also the intellect. They recall the humanist and realistic style of Rembrandt, Soutine and Bacon, and the wider cultural reality of social and political painful turmoil.

For this exhibition, Anish Kapoor also produced sculptures in marble, others in metal, reminding stylised body orifices, which are impressive for their simplicity, but also for the spontaneity.

For Lisson Gallery, Anish Kapoor realised pieces that are connected to the body and its inner parts, in an exteriority and interiority alternate. In this exhibition he diverges from its accustomed colossal to a more confidential approach.

Reshaping the architecture, in the past Kapoor used mirrors and made large stainless steel works both reflecting, particularly spaces and viewers back. On the line of the Greek myth of Narcissus, his work was strongly connected to the image of the human beings.

Therefore, Kapoor analyses the body and how it relates to the environment. He said: “Our body, for each of us,

Installation view, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, London, 25 March - 9 May 2015,  Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

Installation view, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, London, 25 March – 9 May 2015,
Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

is a central measure of how we are in the world. Even though we’re carrying on ourselves in physical presences, we are always living in a kind of fantasy: a fantasy about the interior of body, a fantasy about its relationship to the world. Sculpture fundamentally is looking at that, questioning those fantasies of what the body is, or what the body might be. Therefore, I’ve been very engaged with the question of interior. The interior is always illusory. It’s not real. It’s dark, maybe, sometimes. It’s bloody, all the times. And it’s seems to me that’s a project which is quite elongated: I’ve worked and worked and worked, over and over again. And it keeps leading to new possibilities. So, this is where I am now.”

After many years of illusion, in these present days there is a lack of ideologies. The general debate languishes. The society is in short of new good ideas, and the body is the last resource, as it belongs to the person and can be modified by the person only, in a sort of glorified privacy. Anish Kapoor said: “This exhibition partially gives an answer. The body is the last territory, that is truly ours, is our body. And yet it also questions that. There is a certain amount of uncertainty around: is it really ours? Is it really in our possession, if you like? I am not sure, what the answer to that is, because that’s a complex socio-political issue. But I believe, of course, that art has a lot to do with it. Art helps us, in some ways, to define our sense of self. And I think it’s a conversation we have to engage in somehow, we can’t avoid it.”

Sir Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. He is born in Bombay, India, on 12th March 1954 and lives and works in London. He studied at Hornsey College of Art (1973–77) followed by postgraduate studies at Chelsea School of Art, London (1977–78). He won the Turner Prize (1991) and was elected Royal Academician (1999). He represented Britain in the XLIV Venice Biennale (1990), when he was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize. He received the Praemium Imperiale (2011). He has honorary fellowships from the London Institute and Leeds University (1997), the University of Wolverhampton (1999) and the Royal Institute of British Architecture (2001). He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Oxford in 2014.

Kapoor was ordered Commander of the British Empire in 2003, received the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2011) and the Padma Bhushan (2012) India’s third highest civilian honour. He received a Knighthood in the 2013 Birthday Honours for services to visual arts.

Installation view, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, London, 25 March - 9 May 2015,  Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

Installation view, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, London, 25 March – 9 May 2015,
Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

In 2002 he received the Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Notable public sculptures include ‘Cloud Gate’ (Millennium Park, Chicago); ‘Sky Mirror’ exhibited in Rockefeller Center, New York City (2006) and Kensington Gardens, London (2010); ‘Tenemos’ at Middlehaven, Middlesbrough; ‘Leviathan’, at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011; and ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’, commissioned as a permanent artwork for the Olympic Park of London (2012).

Kapoor operates independently from any gallery. However, he has a business relationship with Lisson Gallery in London since long time.

Lisson Gallery is one of the most influential and longest-running international contemporary art galleries in the world, established in 1967 by Nicholas Logsdail. It pioneered the early careers of important Minimal and Conceptual artists, such as Sol LeWitt and Richard Long, as well as those of significant British sculptors from Anish Kapoor and Tony Cragg to a younger generation, led by Ryan Gander and Haroon Mirza. In addition to its two exhibition spaces in London, one in Milan and a fourth gallery opened in New York in 2015.

Anish Kapoor exhibition was at Lisson Gallery, Edgware Road, London, from 25th March until 9th May 2015.

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