Wednesday, 11 November 2009


It's difficult to explain why this show is so good. I've loved Anish Kapoor since I saw Marsyas at the Tate Modern back in 2002, but when I try to tell people why, I'm never really successful. I think you have to experience his work in person. There are a lot of ideas that sound quite abstract until you see it in the gallery. My flatmate had never seen any of his work before and when we left she said it was one of the best shows she'd ever seen.

This show is about, in part, self-generation. There is one work called Svayambh, which consists of a huge chunk of red wax on a moving platform, travelling very slowly up and down the length of a couple of rooms in the Royal Academy. The wax is literally carved and shaped by the gallery. Everybody was walking up to it, wanting to touch it, waiting for it to be squished through the doorways, marvelling at it. The Shooting into the Corner work (in the poster above), is similar: the work is created and builds up over the length of the exhibition. Every 10 minutes or so, a cannon shoots a lump of red wax into the corner. I don't know why exactly, but it's just so fabulous! It is loud and dramatic, and there's a building of suspense while you wait for the BOOM. I guess it's partly about experiencing the creation of the work. And whereas I find a lot of Kapoor's work tranquil and peaceful (there are many examples in other parts of the show), this one is quite violent and visceral.

So this is probably (again!) a poor explanation of why I think he's such a great modern artist, but there you go. If you're in London, check it out - it's brilliant.

No comments: