Anish Kapoor’s current solo exhibition at Gladstone Gallery confronts visitors with two opposing sides to the artist’s three decade long investigation into the nature of objectness. A veritable global art star, with a Venice Biennale Pavilion (1990), a Turner Prize (1991) and countless prestigious public art commissions under his belt, Kapoor is known for his perception bending works that verge on spectacle. In the Indian-born, London-based artist’s first show in New York in four years his new works expand across two gallery spaces on West 24th and 21st Streets. As an artist interested in the metaphysical polarities inherent in individual objects, Kapoor invests these two galleries with both organic and highly engineered approaches to the materiality of form.
On West 24th Street, Kapoor highlights the transformative nature of material by deliberately selecting poured concrete as his medium. Unable to hold their initial shape, his densely textured towers rise like frozen relics of a child’s sandcastle, saved from the perpetual ocean wave. Like stalagmites rising from the floor, Kapoor’s 22 freestanding sculptures, mounted on metal palettes, surround gallery goers with a meandering forest of ever-collapsing structures. With its looming presence, Kapoor’s new installation in concrete encourages visitors to contemplate the incomplete nature of the sculptural form.
With his West 21st Street installation, Kapoor presents a work of sophisticated engineering for which he has become famous. Like Chicago’s Cloud Gate or the upcoming Orbit, commissioned for the 2012 London Olympics, Kapoor’s Untitled (2012), constructed on site, pulls off an impressive technical feat. Weighing in at 24,000 lbs. of Cor-ten steel, this off-center orb rests at a 45-degree angle on a small rectangle of metal. With a rusted patina already formed, the soaring installation recalls Richard Serra’s interventions into spatial perception. A circular portal in the sphere opens up to reveal a cavernous interior, inducing visitors to pop their heads under the hood and listen for the echoes of their hellos and who’s there’s. One can even imagine encountering the artist’s 24th Street stalagmites upon entry. A fixture of urban landscapes from Paris to London to Chicago, New York’s ode to Kapoor is only on view through Saturday.
– P. Lathrop