London – “Anish Kapoor” at Lisson Gallery, Through November 10th, 2012

November 3rd, 2012

Anish Kapoor Installation View 2
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

Anish Kapoor’s current exhibition at the Lisson Gallery is a major exhibition of new works. Occupying both the gallery’s spaces on Bell Street, London, the exhibition marks 30 years of Lisson Gallery working together with the Turner-prize winning artist and provides a thorough examination of Kapoor’s most recent work.

Anish Kapoor Installation View 3
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

His latest show is comprised of two intertwined halves which distinguish themselves texturally and conceptually. The juxtaposition of rough and smooth is further heightened by the contrasting palette: the rough, more experimental forms are earthy in tone, hinting at natural entities that have been removed from their habitat but still holding a certain energy and sense of entropy. The smooth Fiberglas constructs, however, populate the space in a much more refined way; they are lit much more generously and ostensibly offer a sense of control with their obvious, bright, multicolored gradients that overtly emphasize their man-made forms.

Kapoor was born in Bombay in 1954 and takes much of his inspiration from his experiences growing up in India in an conservatively religious environment. His Void installations embody the essence of creation as he plays with light and dark as allegories for the advent of time and an Eastern notion of harmony and contentment.

anish kappor- 'anxious',  2012- lisson gallery
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

A room-size installation, in which a circle of light sits ominously on the floor, induces a sense of angst as melodies echo from wall to wall. The atmosphere is both foreboding yet  somehow serene, with a halo-like, ethereal glow, suggestive of a sort of gateway or an unknown.

Anish Kapoor Installation View 4
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

Artificial capsules (At the Hub of Things – 1987/88), which follow a grade from the concave into a smooth, flat color, sporadically embellish the white walls of the gallery, echoing the work of monochromatic modernists whose work evoked the metaphysical with color, straddling the distinction between 2-d and 3-d. These works recall his earlier pigment pieces, in some sense stripping the sculptures down to their most basic medium – color.

Anish Kapoor Installation View 5
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

The ‘artificial’ works and the natural formations connect in the allusion to implied orifices. The concave domes are internally colored, in much the same way that the recesses in his experimental sculptures are sometimes coated with a blood red shade. This adds a hint of promiscuity and mischievousness to the series and simultaneously leaves the implications of the pieces ambiguous – they could be sexually charged, yet they could also be seen as religious gateways, or both.

Anish Kapoor Installation View 1
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

In conjunction with his classic means of sculpture, Kapoor presents a ready-made: a diesel engine-like formation entitled Organ. It is comprised of all the mechanical workings of a functioning engine, yet serves merely an aesthetic purpose. The structure is reminiscent of a bachelor machine (in Duchamp’s Large Glass of 1915-1923), an interpretation which is perhaps encouraged by the other sensually ambiguously presences.

Anish Kapoor Installation View 6
Anish Kapoor, Installation view 2012, courtesy Lisson Gallery

The show somehow leaves us with a sense of inherent conflict between the transcendental and earthly Western ideals, while addressing a modern mythology which forces a link between opposing forms of matter and perception.

-E.Longstaff

Related Links

Gallery Website [Lisson Gallery]
The Telegraph: [“Anish Kapoor’s new exhibition set to challenge public“]
The Independent [Anish Kapoor, Lisson Gallery, London]