Home Madrid language schools Anish Kapoor’s Material Values ​​| the new yorker

Anish Kapoor’s Material Values ​​| the new yorker


When Anish was sixteen, he and Roy were sent to Israel to live on a kibbutz. Anish’s job was to take care of the ducks in the community. “We were still children, really naive, innocent Indian boys,” he recalls. In India, the brothers’ Jewish identity marked them as outsiders; in Israel, Anish found that their Indian heritage marked them as not being Jewish enough. In the streets of Tel Aviv, they were the target of racist chants. While in Israel, Anish suffered from what he later recognized as a nervous breakdown. “I just became completely dysfunctional,” he told me. Roy, who is now an executive at a tech company in Toronto, told me, “We were walking down the street and he was saying he didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. He looked around him, trembled and began to cry. It was then that Kapoor first embarked on psychoanalysis. (He now has weekly rather than daily sessions.) But he has also received help from other sources. “I had an aunt who lived in Israel, and she had these strange shamanic predilections,” he recalls. When Kapoor’s mother went to Israel to visit her sons, the aunt ordered her, “Go back to India and take some dirt, come back and put it under Anish’s bed.” Kapoor told me, “Honestly, I could cry – my mother, bless her, went to India, took some dirt and put it under my bed. And, in a way, it’s this ritual material that I’ve been working with ever since.

Kapoor’s parents hoped he would study to become an engineer in Israel; instead he decided to become an artist, renting a studio and starting to paint. When he applied to Bezalel, the famous art school in Jerusalem, he was refused and he left the country in 1973, just before the Yom Kippur war. Kapoor hitchhiked through Europe, stopping in Monaco, where his parents had moved for his father’s job. In the principality, he told me: “I was getting stopped by the police for having dark skin and long hair every five minutes – I’m sorry, but that’s just a fact.” (A few years ago he returned to Monaco to receive an honor and took the opportunity to inform Prince Albert II of the long-running harassment.) Kapoor ended up in London, where he enrolled at Hornsey College of Art, an environment that was both idealistic and radically leftist. “Artists were hanging out, getting high, chilling, going to the pub, going to the studio,” Kapoor recalled. “It was a completely different atmosphere, in terms of what it meant to do something in the world. It wasn’t a job. It was a mission. It was something you filled your life with. London was good market and increasingly cosmopolitan Kapoor rented a studio for five pounds a month and made money at Camden Lock Market selling jewelery made from bent spoons and forks.

Kapoor had envisioned himself having a modest, bohemian existence, but this plan was undermined by his growing critical and commercial success. In the late 70s, he began sculpting biomorphic, convoluted forms that appeared to be made entirely of piles of brightly colored pigments. The series, titled “1000 names,” was partly inspired by Kapoor’s first return visit to India, a decade after he left; the colors and textures of the sculptures evoked the bags of pigments sold in Mumbai’s markets for ritual use, and their powdered edges were formally innovative, challenging the boundary between painting and sculpture. During Kapoor’s career, his pigment works have occasionally raised other questions: once, while on his way to a show in Sicily, airport security guards briefly detained him, suspecting his claim that the bags of white powder found in his luggage were paint.

In 1982, he was hired by the influential Lisson Gallery, which already represented several British sculptors of his generation, including Tony Cragg and Richard Deacon. Like them, Kapoor often made works from common materials, such as polystyrene and wood. But his use of powdered pigment was distinctive. Nicholas Logsdail, the gallery’s founder, told me, “The form wasn’t necessarily so original, but the way he used it was. His use of color pigment and this very casual way of dropping it on the floor, rather than making it neat and tidy, I thought had the potential to be some sort of art historical breakthrough . In 1984, an exhibition of pigment works at the Gladstone Gallery in Manhattan sold out before it even opened. John Russell, who reviewed the show for the Time, Noted that Kapoor “has something of his native country in his use of deep, brilliant color”, adding: “Mustard yellows, Yves Klein blue, bright, vivid reds and luxurious blacks all at once remind us of a country where the color comes in the form of a dye, not a tube.

Critical reception of Kapoor’s work has often focused on his Indian ancestry, while sometimes paying less attention to other aspects of his artistic heritage. Homi K. Bhabha, a Harvard professor and critical theorist who has been a close friend of Kapoor for decades, told me: “In the 1980s and 1990s there was an obsession – a kind of cultural anxiety – with put a name and a place to the inventiveness of an artist from the postcolonial diaspora by emphasizing the authenticity of his cultural origin. Anish’s work is often given an exaggerated mystical and mythological reading that does not engage with the more mundane tensions to which it draws attention. Diaspora postcolonial artists, Bhabha continued, have a global provenance rather than a national identity: “They engage with Western art and artists while being deeply in conversation with the arts and artists of the postcolonial South. ”

Kapoor told me that he “refused to accept that I was an ‘Indian artist’”, and continued: “In the age of the individual, creative potential is attributed to the culture of origin. And you deprive the individual of his creative contribution. His relationship with his homeland has been further complicated by the rise of Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, of whom Kapoor has always been critical. Last year he written in the Guardian that the Modi regime “bears comparison with the Taliban in Afghanistan, who also tried to rule with ideological fervor”, adding: “The fascist government in India today is doing what the British could not. Modi and his neo-colonial henchmen are imposing Hindu uniqueness on the country. Kapoor is no more fond of outgoing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose policies he sees as part of a discouraging global trend to the right. (When Johnson was mayor of London, Kapoor expressed annoyance after Johnson commissioned a slide to be built on the frame of the ArcelorMittal Tower, to make it a more attractive tourist attraction.)

“Will we ever find a place that doesn’t have a spider?”

Cartoon by Frank Cotham

“You look at Brazil, India, etc., the first thing they look for is culture,” Kapoor told me. “Because they don’t want free-thinking, open-minded conversation, and because images matter. It’s sad to see Britain going in this direction. Kapoor has used his fame in England to criticize everything from Brexit to the British government’s treatment of Shamima Begum, a British-born woman who was stripped of her citizenship in 2019, four years after she decided to age of fifteen, leaving London to join isis fighters in Syria. Now living in a refugee camp in northern Syria, Begum gave birth to and lost three children. “Here is a sad young woman who was trafficked,” Kapoor told me. “Imagine a government that can arbitrarily take away your citizenship, if you can afford citizenship elsewhere, because you speak out against them. They might do the same to me tomorrow, frankly.

Kapoor’s pigment sculptures were the beginning of his efforts to push materials to unexpected, seemingly reality-defying extremes. “They say what you see is what you get, and I think art is the exact opposite,” Kapoor told curator Nicholas Baume. “For me, the illusory is more poetically truthful than the ‘real’. “Greg Hilty, the curatorial director of the Lisson Gallery, told me, ‘There’s a bit of a Wizard of Oz thing to it – Anish was never afraid of fiction and theatre.’

Over the years, the materials Kapoor has had access to and the transformation methods at his disposal have become more sophisticated and extreme. He enlisted laborers at a shipyard in Holland to manufacture “Hive», a giant curved sculpture in Corten steel. For “Svayambhu– a Sanskrit word that means “self-generated” – Kapoor placed a huge engine-powered block of blood-colored wax on a rail that ran through three identically sized doors; the block of wax snuck through and splattered the doors, suggesting it had been “sculpted” into shape while moving back and forth. During an online roundtable last year, Nigel Schofield of MDM Props, the manufacturer who helped Kapoor get the job done, said of the wax vehicle: “There’s a form below, so you need engineering skills.