On view now at Lisson Gallery in London, Anish Kapoor presents a new series of paintings, an element of his practice that has rarely been seen, exploring the intimate and ritualistic nature of his work. Created over the past year, the show provides a poetic view of the artist’s recent preoccupations, while delving into his more expressive and visceral modes of practice. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the artist’s show at Modern Art Oxford.
Through painting, Kapoor delves into deep inner worlds, using the body and its attendant materiality to investigate similar psychological content and concepts to his more minimalist compositions in steel. Here, these works are presented in a series of paintings, an approach Kapoor has long embraced, and continue his use of rich color and line as a mode of physical and psychological encounter. Flesh and blood are at the core of these pieces, the raw matter of life, and his new paintings apply that set of aesthetic signifiers towards a more abstracted, expressive end. The sheer power and depth of the color red is evident in these new paintings, manifesting the elemental force that flows through us all, yet now accompanied by a new palette of gray and yellow. Some works appear volcanic, with an intense, fiery energy, while others are more primitive and abstract, with layers of dense pigment and resin forming a sculpted solidity. Many of the paintings have a visceral outpouring where a canvas within a canvas rotates and evolves in space, seeming to defy gravity, with brushstrokes cascading over the edges like a waterfall. In others we see distorted, polymorphic figures emerging from a deep, radiant void, with a ghostly aura.
Drawing on a history of British painting that looks back into the past, and touches on the works of classic pieces by J.M.W. Turner or even Francis Bacon, Kapoor’s work here continues a tradition of raw physical gesture, with the ironic twist that the gesture and its materiality is, in itself, a metaphorical stand-in for the body itself, turning Kapoor’s interest in obliteration and erasure into a fitting undercurrent in the work’s presentation.
The show closes October 30th.
– C. Rhinehart
Anish Kapoor at Lisson [Exhibition Site]