Manchester Art Gallery
5 March–5 June 2011
Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
19 November 2011–11 March 2012
A venue for the exhibition in Summer 2011 is to be announced.
by ANNA McNAY
Kapoor, who represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1990, won the Turner Prize in 1991, and was the first living artist to be given the entire Royal Academy main gallery space for his 2009 show, attracting a record 260,000 visitors, is renowned for his use of vivid primary colours in pigment form: “Colour is stuff. There’s a thing-ness to colour.” Then, of course, there are his mirrored surfaces. The title of one of his earliest such works, and the first to be seen upon entering the main gallery, Turning the World Inside Out (1995) might, indeed, be argued to sum up his oeuvre.
A side room houses a further three mirrors, collectively Her Blood (1998), one tinted a deep red, producing a liquid reflection as if it were a pool of blood. Optically unsettling, its two silver companions, one composed of concentric circles which seem to spin as you walk across its field, flip you upside down, compress you to squat height, focus, un-focus, and multiply your image, beyond the realm of any hall of mirrors.
Seemingly calmer, but equally disconcerting to the eye, When I am Pregnant (1992) swells silently from a wall, invisible head on, except for a vague shadow demarcating its presence. An interplay of shadow and light on curves, suggesting there is no such thing as pure white.
Recently, Kapoor has moved on to creating “self-generated” works in wax, exemplified here, as in Negative Box Shadow (2005), where visceral red “gore” is sliced by a large blade, or Moon Shadow (2005), where it is smeared across an oversized chopping board.
This is the stuff of dreams and nightmares, an encounter with the sublime. If, as Kapoor contends, art should be about going where you don’t know, and leading the viewer somewhere he doesn’t know either, then this exhibition truly is a journey to the other side of the looking glass, entering a world of distortion and inversion, where even the familiar seems bizarre.
1. Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, 1871: chapter one.
2. Anish Kapoor in Conversation with Andrew Renton, in Anish Kapoor: Flashback, exhibition catalogue edited by Michael Bracewell and Andrew Renton, Hayward Publishing, 2011.
The Unilever Series: Miroslaw Balka, ‘How it is’
Miroslaw Balka has created an environment, a work using light-absorbing material across the walls of a storage container, for the purpose of experiencing darkness
Mary Kelly: Projects, 1973
There is a lot more to Mary Kelly’s work than just dirty nappies. Nevertheless, no retrospective would be complete without the inclusion of Post-Partum Document (1973–1979), notorious for causing a ruckus in the British press when exhibited at the ICA in 1976.
In his preface to the catalogue for Poussin Gallery’s current exhibition, High Abstract, Mel Gooding is keen to establish that, “a simple definition of what might be admitted under the rubric of ‘abstract’ has never been agreed by artists or by critics or by art historians.”
Grayson Perry: Visual Dialogues
Perfectly turned out in a pink and green satin dress, with matching hair ribbons and boldly rouged cheeks, Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry climbs the stairs in the airy atrium of Manchester Art Gallery to deliver a short speech celebrating the gallery
Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin: Do Not Abandon Me
When French-born American artist Louise Bourgeois handed over her set of 16 gouache male and female torsos to younger British artist, new friend and