Good news in the art world – Anish Kapoor, creator of some of my all-time favourite art pieces such as Marsyas and the Three Witches, is going to be installing a piece at Rockefeller Plaza in a few weeks. The new ‘sky mirror’ looks highly impressive and in the same epic scope as Kapoor’s more recent pieces. Huge, daunting yet integrated at the same time, unlike the Gates in Central Park – and I’m sure it will be a lot harder for anyone to steal a piece of this!
I first came across Kapoor’s work at the art museum in Ontario back in 1993 – the first of what has turned into many trips to Canadia. There, in the middle of the large open rooms, were three granite blocks – each with a slit cut into them brushed with dark blue pigment – facing each other. There was something dark and interesting about these holes, the blueness tantalizing, the feeling that you should be looking inside although you weren’t quite sure if there was an inside. Or maybe it was infinite in there, you had no real sense of scale. Kapoor plays with these concepts with ease, causing a mix of dis-comfort and familiarity with his viewers – active participants in sculptures that demand interaction. From then on I was hooked.
Since that first encounter I’ve tried to see as many Kapoor pieces as possible. Every major modern gallery has one or two – the dusted bright colours from his early periods, highly polished metals and curves from later years, or the epic stretched red canvas of his, all too brief, spot in the turbine hall at the Tate. Every one brings a new sense of wonder, of horizon. Once, at the Lisson Gallery, I caught a brief glimpse of the man himself, chatting with companions about his new pieces. One of those times I found no courage to go up and just thank him for the wonders he’d brought into being.
Now Kapoor is one of those international artists who cities fight over for the chance to exhibit. His new works are at a scale that, while dwarfing us, still somehow manage to embrace and welcome us. I guess this means it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to buy one for my front room, but at least I get to share that sense of awe with more people round the world. Thanks Anish.