Marking a major retrospective including recent and new works going on view in conjunction with the opening of the Venice Biennale, Anish Kapoor is the subject of a new show at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in the Dorsoduro neighborhood of the city. Curated by Taco Dibbits, General Director of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the show focuses on the artist’s investigations of perception and the body, space and time, it features a range of works drawing on his recent work with the hyper-black pigment Vantablack in pursuit of new experiments with “the void” and human experience.
The exhibition spans the full stretch of the artist’s career, presenting key moments in Kapoor’s career and exploring the development of his unique visual language. For the first time, his ground-breaking new works, created using the carbon nanotechnology Vantablack, go on view, stark, dense blackness that the artist spreads across the floor and walls to create a thick coat of darkness, as if space had simply ceased to exist. Marking a fitting development in Kapoor’s language, which explores the condition of what he has termed the ‘non-object,’ the piees investigate the liminal space occupied by an object, between physical presence and immateriality, something that is present but absent, empty yet full. Mirrors and reflective surfaces abound, inviting the viewer into a consideration of tension and absence in the anticipation of a filled space.
Spanning the museum’s halls, the show also includes a number of his works with wax and automated technologies, as well as thick heaps of dense red pigments and oils, marking something of a conceptual parallel to the gleaming, clean surfaces and vacuous holes in space. In one classic work, in which a cannon fires heaps of wax against the wall, gradually filling the space with a visceral mass of red streaks and blobs. In the same way that Kapoor’s other work seems to obliterate space by absence, the pieces here achieve a similar end result by creating an abundance of body, signifiers that so explicitly conjure the compositional structures of the human body that its presence becomes almost unbearably apparent.
Showcasing these dual operations across such an abundance of works, Kapoor’s show in Venice makes for a thoughtful and powerful moment away from the hustle and bustle of the Biennale at large.
– D. Creahan
Anish Kapoor at Gallerie dell’Accademia [Exhibition Site]