Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)
20 Dec 2012 to 01 Apr 2013
Anish Kapoor has created some of the most memorable works of art of our times. Through a career spanning four decades, Anish Kapoor has re-imagined the medium of sculpture, finding new ways to challenge and beguile audiences.
This first exhibition of Anish Kapoor’s work in Australia was curated specifically in response to the MCA’s galleries. It was developed in close consultation with the artist and his studio team, a conversation which began when the Museum first closed for renovation in 2011. The exhibition of these extraordinary works, which would not have been possible in the old gallery spaces, was a fitting way to celebrate the end of the first year of the new MCA.
The exhibition began outside the Museum, with Kapoor’s spectacular Sky Mirror (2006) on the front lawn, drawing viewers to the Museum with its play of reflections and light which melded the work into the surrounding landscape. In contrast, in the gallery on Level 1, visitors encountered the mesmeric My Red Homeland (2003), where the work was created by the movement of a mechanised arm through viscous red wax.
In the Level 3 Gallery, the exhibition continued with key bodies of works from the artist’s career since the early 1980s. Kapoor’s continual experimentation with materials and forms was seen in works which challenge conventional ideas of art and engagement, including the early vibrant pigment pieces and the void sculptures which explore negative space – openings and cavities – distorting viewers’ perceptions of space, highlighting the gap between what is known and what is seen. This challenge to sensory perception was found in a different form in Kapoor’s more recent work Memory (2009), the enormous Cor-ten steel work that dominated one of the large gallery spaces. The uncanny mirror works which punctuated the space, sometimes described as ‘non objects’, dissolved into the architecture, creating highly disorientating experiences for viewers. The most recent concrete works were the result of a machine made process which is instigated but not controlled by the artist.
Kapoor’s ability to transform material into astonishing and often perplexing works of art which raise philosophical questions about the world and our position within it, have led to comparisons with alchemy, the ancient magical power to transform an ordinary substance into something of great value.
The exhibition was accompanied by the MCA’s first e-publication, a 'living catalogue’ which included video and audio content, exclusive behind the scenes material, and in depth essays exploring the themes in Kapoor’s extraordinary works. The publication remains available for download exclusively for iPads through the MCA’s Publications application, available on iTunes.