Friday, October 2, 2009

I am Obsessed! Deux

At last, the Anish Kapoor exhibit opened at the Royal Academy of Art. I have been anticipating for the exhibit since the semester began. Anish Kapoor is a Indian-British sculptor whose art is often quite minimalist, colorful, and monumental. He designed the famous Cloud Gate in Chicago.

His latest exhibit at the Royal Academy is a sensory wonder. He created several mirrored objects that distort your image and even your vision. They're almost like carnival mirrors but beyond. What I meant by distorting your vision like how your head feels when you stare at a black and white checker pattern for too long. I had the most difficult time figuring out what exactly is happening. After staring at them for too long, I got a bit sick.

Another piece of art is called Yellow. It's a gigantic yellow wall that is concave. At the first glance, it was hard to tell if the wall is concave or convex. And after a while, it's still very difficult to tell exactly how deep the wall curves in.

The centerpiece of this exhibit is titled Svayambh. It is a 30 ton block of red wax that moves at a snail's pace through five galleries. When passing through each gallery, the wax pushes itself through the arched doorways. The process leaves behind residues on the walls, the arches, and the ground. (It's incredible that the Royal Academy allowed Anish Kapoor to do this. The building is a beautiful, I'm guessing, late 18th structure with marble arched doorways and ornate, carved ceilings. Clean up will be a huge tastk!) But also through this process, the wax block is creating a form for itself. The idea of this piece is well reflected by its title--Svayambh means "self-generated" in Sanskrit. Anish Kapoor wanted to create an artwork that breaks away from the traditional method of making sculpture which is through the hands of a sculptor.

Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take photos inside. It is often the case that photography is not allowed in temporary exhibits, and especially in the UK, not allowed in "galleries." In the UK there is a clear distinction between "galleries" and "museums." Galleries hold paintings while museums hold objects. I think this is a brilliant way of distinguishing between the two type of museums.

What I was allowed to take photos of is this fantastic sculpture in the Royal Academy's courtyard. Anish Kapoor works are innovative in the use of unexpected materials, explosively vivid in the use of colors, and minimalist in the use of simple shapes and clean lines. Once again, I am obsessed!!!

Click here for more photos and the official website of the exhibition.

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