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In The Form Of Kapoor

March 26, 2012

Arts | by Candid Magazine

On the eve of the Olympics, Anish Kapoor’s Orbit stands, towering over the Olympic Stadium. Its form can be said to be a materialisation of the familiar Kapoor framework, into architecture. Like Kapoor’s other works, it assumes a material ambiguity where the rigid steel frame is crafted in a way to evoke his curved forms.


A compilation of these curved forms and other works can be seen at ‘Anish Kapoor: Flashback’. Following his successful spell at the RA, the flashback series populates the long gallery at Nottingham Castle, almost like an extension to the aforementioned exhibition. Pigment cascade down skirting boards, cornices are flanked by sculptural forms and voids protrude from walls.  The pieces interact with the architecture and act as mediation between organic and structural forms.


Along the far wall sits the subtle ‘When I am Pregnant’. The seamless swelling is impregnated into    the plaster.  Unlike the angular forms of the architecture, it is a reminder of the humanity.  Although it is reminiscent of the human form, in a stark contrast to the reality of pregnancy, it is almost unnoticeable when approaching. It has the appearance of being born of the wall and not created by man. The presence of the hand is not visible in this piece. Kapoor tends to remove himself from the manufacture of the piece allowing them to be perceived as organic.


In the piece ‘Turning Water Into Mirror, Blood Into Sky’, Kapoor is almost entirely removed from the production of the form. A whirring noise marks the piece’s location. The only allusion to the purpose of this noise is uncovered by a disturbance to its surface. The sleek concave form is actually produced by a vortex of water stimulated by a motor. Like the ‘Sky Mirror’ at Nottingham Playhouse, it reflects the surroundings and reinterprets them.


‘Negative box shadow’ develops the idea of making without the process being visible. The sculpture itself carves out its own form. The circular disc is pushed against the wax sculpting it. The displacement of the wax creates a negative space that is an extension of the disc, drawing the audience into the piece.

‘White Sand, Red Millet, Many Flowers’, 1982.  Mixed media and pigment.  Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London.


The audience is drawn further into the exhibition through the extensive use of colour. Pigment is  one of Kapoor’s favoured pieces and features heavily in his earlier pieces. ‘White Sand, Red Millet, Many Flowers ‘ stands proudly in one end of the gallery proudly displaying the rich colours expressive of India and the Hindu festival of Holi. The striking red, saffron yellow and the deep black all assume geometric forms. This piece provokes the viewer to experience colour in a different light, to see it in its physical nature.


Theere is a sense of playfulness to Kapoor’s work which toils with materiality and process. ‘Flashback’ brings together one of the largest collections of Anish Kapoor’s work back to the city of his first public outdoor sculpture and is the first major retrospective to be shown outside of London.


‘Flashback’ at Nottingham Castle runs until 11th March and moves on to the Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (16 June – 4 November 2012).



Jennifer Yu