Kapoor in Berlin

May 16, 2013

Indian-born artist Anish Kapoor is one of the most important of the world’s contemporary artists. He presents his works in the first major exhibition at the  Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin from 18 May - 24 November, 2013. In an interview to the Guardian newspaper, the artist says the exhibition, entitled 'Kapoor in Berlin', is the best show he has yet put on, as he feels Germany demonstrates a huge degree of respect for the arts.

Since his first sculptures – simple forms with paint pigments spread out on the floor – Kapoor has developed a multi-faceted oeuvre using various materials, such as stone, steel, glass, wax, PVC skins and high-tech material. In his objects, sculptures and installations the boundaries between painting and sculpture become blurred. Born in Mumbai in 1954, Kapoor is among the most prominent representatives of British sculpture. He travelled to London in 1973 to study sculpture at the Hornsey College of Art and has lived and worked there ever since.

View of a mirror installation at Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2009-2010 Enlarge image View of a mirror installation at Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2009-2010 (© Anish Kapoor / VG Bildkunst, Bonn, 2013; Photo: Dave Morgan) The show, comprising about 70 works, will provide a survey of the abstract poetic work of this winner of the Turner Prize from 1982 to the present. It covers more than 3,000 sq metres at the Martin-Gropius-Bau. Around half the works were created especially for the show. 

In 'White Sand, Red Millet, Many Flowers' for example, he draws inspiration from the land of his birth: India. Objects reminiscent of the decorative elements in Indian temples or Buddhist stupas have been covered with thick layers of gleaming pigment powder in red, yellow and black. 

Working with stone for 'Wound', Kapoor has cut a gash in the inner faces of two stones and filled it with deep red pigment. The gash continues along the front of the wall where the stones come together to form a V. The deep red colour emphasizes the organic element. The title of the work calls up numerous images before our inner eye and points to an interpretation.

The centrepiece of the show, 'Symphony for a Beloved Sun', is a new creation that fills the gallery's main atrium. Emerging from holes in walls and a trapdoor in the floor, conveyor belts rise skywards, carrying big rectangular blocks of viscous, wine-red wax. As the wax moves up, it produces a squelching sound before falling off the end of the belt and landing with a satisfying splat on the linoleum floor. 

Anish Kapoor in his studio Enlarge image Anish Kapoor in his studio (© Mark Power / Magnum Photos ) 'Symphony for a Beloved Sun' is a nod to one of Kapoor's heroes, the late German sculptor Joseph Beuys, who exhibited in the same atrium space shortly after the building's postwar restoration, in 1982.

In his interview to the Guardian, Kapoor described exhibiting at the Martin-Gropius-Bau as both a challenge and an inspiration as he had to deal not just with its complicated, decorative interior but also with the history that envelops the building. "It's a building with a curious, difficult history that is inexorably linked to the history of Berlin," he said. "That's very potent. You can't make a show here without some reference to all of that. And it certainly makes a show here so much more interesting."

© Berliner Festspiele, German Embassy New Delhi

Kapoor in Berlin

Anish Kapoor's sculpture 'Shooting into the Corner'