»Less is a bore.«

Robert Venturi

Blog Review

Kapoor with a Bang

Anish Kapoor is big in Berlin

  • Shooting into the Corner 2008-2009. (Photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 1 / 9  Shooting into the Corner 2008-2009. (Photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • The Death of Leviathan‚ 2011-2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 2 / 9  The Death of Leviathan‚ 2011-2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Apocalypse and the Millennium‚ 2013.  (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. © Anish Kapoor /  VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 3 / 9  Apocalypse and the Millennium‚ 2013.  (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery. © Anish Kapoor /  VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Artist's Studio, 2006. (Photo: Dave Morgan © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 4 / 9  Artist's Studio, 2006. (Photo: Dave Morgan © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Untitled‚ 2010. (Photo: Markus Tretter © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 5 / 9  Untitled‚ 2010. (Photo: Markus Tretter © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Shooting into the Corner‚ 2008-2009. (Photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 6 / 9  Shooting into the Corner‚ 2008-2009. (Photo: Nic Tenwiggenhorn © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Symphony for a Beloved Sun‚ 2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist. © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 7 / 9  Symphony for a Beloved Sun‚ 2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist. © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Symphony for a Beloved Sun‚ 2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist. © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013) 8 / 9  Symphony for a Beloved Sun‚ 2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist. © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)
  • Non Objects series‚ 2008-2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)& 9 / 9  Non Objects series‚ 2008-2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)&

Internationally acclaimed British artist Anish Kapoor, known for his weird world of illusion and colour, has created one of his largest ever shows for Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau museum. uncube takes a visit to ‘this season's must-see art show’ to find out if the turner-prize winner still has the wow factor...

As expected‚ Kapoor in Berlin is BIG: a big exhibition with big works. No less than seventy sculptures (created between 1988 and 2013) fill the ground floor of the Martin-Gropius-Bau exhibition hall with ease. They are loosely grouped across its 3,000 square meters: A room with stones. A room with resin. Three rooms with a partially deflated plastic balloon. One room with the famous mirrors. Another room with mirrors. A room with the blood-red wax. The works (and visitors) have clearly been given ample space. In Kapoor’s repertoire there is no room for the subtle‚ small‚ or quiet.

Instead, we have the blast of canons. Every 20 minutes, an operator fills an apparently self-made canon with crimson wax. Following a brief, tension-filled moment, the wax is jettisoned with a loud explosion into a corner. This is one of several works that have been exhibited elsewhere, and which are now part of this first major retrospective of Kapoor’s works in Germany. Coming from Paris, The Death of Leviathan is full in name only: the sagging PVC balloon is by far the weakest of the works shown here, maybe just because it is so self-referential to Kapoor’s earlier work Leviathan. And despite its dramatic title (Apocalypse and the Millennium), the massive, grayish-brown pile of resin and earth, which fills one of the more removed exhibition rooms with its penetrating odor, seems similarly trivial. In light of the overpowering notes of fresh resin, one is ill advised to breathe in too deeply here.

Symphony for a Beloved Sun‚ 2013. (Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy the artist. © Anish Kapoor / VG Bild Kunst‚ Bonn‚ 2013)

And yet the exhibition does not disappoint. With Kapoor one can be relatively certain of what one will get. Also, amidst the pomp one finds works that are impressive and confounding, like doors to another dimension. There are the shattered stones with their thick, pigmented inlays, whose surfaces are like otherworldly geodes. Elsewhere, a white wall subtly bulges towards the light, resulting in an interplay of shadows that is more fascinating than the protrusion itself. Another room showcases soft, red wax objects pierced by the wooden instruments that formed them in a kind of a torture chamber. The smell of fresh wax permeates the room, setting the scene for a dark, archaic ritual that only recently took place.

And then there are the hallucinogenic mirrors, whose marvelous steel surfaces and soft curves are so tempting to touch – which is unfortunately prohibited by the vigilant security personnel. The incredibly contorted Vertigo casts multiple reflections of exhibition visitors in the most unpredictable places. Kapoor’s famous Non-Objects have often been photographed, but this is nothing compared to the real thing, as they distort reality into crystal clear, fluctuating forms. (Warning: Attempting to decipher the reflections back into something familiar can result in mind-boggling headaches.) 

Is Kapoor a charlatan, whose trick is to bury art under bombastic, XXL effects? Certainly. But there is more. Different from Jeff Koons, Kapoor’s charm lies less in how the works are made than in the dark mysticism that seems to swathe so many of them. With some of his sculptures, Kapoor succeeds in stirring within us a sense of apprehension that grows stronger, the longer we observe them. Their oversized theatricality is reminiscent of a circus or a hall of mirrors that causes us to smile – but then to shudder as we realize all we are left with are questions.

- Florian Heilmeyer, Berlin (translation by Alisa Anh Kotmair) 

Kapoor in Berlin

until November 24, 2013
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Niederkirchnerstrasse 7, 10963 Berlin


  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Advertisement

RECENT POSTS

more

Recent Magazines

25 Apr 2016

Magazine No. 43
Athens

  • essay

    From the Bottom and the Top

    Powering Athens through collectivity and informal initiatives by Cristina Ampatzidou

  • photo essay

    Nowhere Now Here

    A photo essay by Yiorgis Yerolymbos

  • Essay

    Back to the Garden

    Athens and opportunities for new urban strategies by Aristide Antonas

  • Interview

    Point Supreme

    An interview by Ellie Stathaki

>

03 Mar 2016

Magazine No. 42
Walk the Line

  • Essay

    The Line Connects

    An essay on drawing and architectural education by Wes Jones

  • Essay

    Drawing Attention

    Phineas Harper sketches out new narrative paths with pencil power

  • Essay

    Gotham

    Elvia Wilk on a city of shadows as architectural fiction

  • Interview

    The (Not So) Fine Line

    A conversation thread between Sophie Lovell and architecture cartoonist Klaus

>

28 Jan 2016

Magazine No. 41
Zvi Hecker

  • essay

    Space Packers

    Zvi Hecker’s career-defining partnership with Eldar Sharon and Alfred Neumann by Rafi Segal

  • Interview

    Essentially I am a Medieval Architect

    An interview with Zvi Hecker by Vladimir Belogolovsky

  • viewpoint

    The Technion Affair

    Breaking and entering in the name of architectural integrity by Zvi Hecker

  • Photo Essay

    Revisiting Yesterday’s Future

    A photo essay by Gili Merin

>

17 Dec 2015

Magazine No. 40
Iceland

  • Viewpoint

    Wish You Were Here

    Arna Mathiesen asks: Refinancing Iceland with tourism – but at what cost?

  • Photo Essay

    Spaces Create Bodies, Bodies Create Space

    An essay by Ólafur Elíasson

  • Focus

    Icelandic Domestic

    Focus on post-independence houses by George Kafka

  • Essay

    The Harp That Sang

    The saga of Reykjavík's Concert Hall by Sophie Lovell & Fiona Shipwright

>

more

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST Close

Uncube is brandnew and wants to look good.
For best performance please update your browser.
Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 (or higher), Safari, Chrome, Opera

×