ANISH KAPOOR MAGIC – it’s all done with mirrors (mostly)

Sky Mirror (2006) It all depends on what it's reflecting.

Sky Mirror (2006) What you see depends on what it’s reflecting at the time.

The signs in the MCA foyer say ‘no photography’. It’s a lost cause. Everyone has at least a phone with a hole in the back now and we don’t often have Anish Kapoor sculptures in Sydney. The moment must be captured.

Mevrouw T and I have spent some quality time with Mr Kapoor over the past year. We loved his Cloud Gate in Chicago, admired his structure outside the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, and even spent five hours in Amsterdam enduring the Wagner opera Parsifal, for which he provided the set designs. He can’t be blamed for our lack of appreciation for Wagner’s music.

We’ve become huge admirers of his work. It was interesting to watch our fellow visitors to Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art, wandering around with silly smiles on their faces. I had one on mine – I could see it in the mirrors, slightly distorted.

Work after work intrigued and disoriented us. The highly polished flat surfaces which somehow cast curved reflections. The dark concave spaces into which you seem to be able to see forever.

Memory. Extraordinary. The first thought is 'How did they get it in here?'

Memory (2008). Extraordinary. The first thought is ‘How did they get it in here?’

Who remembers the first time they succeeded in looking into one of those Magic Eye pictures? The ones which look like bad wallpaper until you go cross-eyed, defocus and suddenly see a 3D Statue of Liberty. Anish Kapoor often created that sort of impact, only better.

The brochure notes for the Anish Kapoor exhibition speak of ‘exploration of the nature of perception in relation to space, form and mass‘, ‘perplexing works of art which raise philosophical questions about the world and our position within it‘. Hmm, maybe. Someone had to write something in the booklet.

I think as a general rule artists should shut up about their work. ‘I made it because I thought it would look good’ will do for me.

Anish Kapoor’s work certainly looks good. See it when you can!

1000 Names. An early work (1979-81) which brought the artist to international prominence.

1000 Names. An early work (1979-81) which brought the artist to international prominence.

S-curve 2006. This is one of those I think would be better outside, so that it could reflect more than just white walls and museum visitors.

S-curve 2006. This is one of those I think would be better outside, so that it could reflect more than just white walls and museum visitors.

My Red Homeland 2003. A steel block on a mechanical arm rotates slowly, grinding a track through 25 tons of paraffin wax. I did't like it much until I realised it was really moving.

My Red Homeland 2003. A steel block on a mechanical arm rotates slowly, grinding a track through 25 tons of paraffin wax. I did’t like it much until I realised it was really moving.

It looks good there, Mr Kapoor. Can we keep it in Sydney a bit longer?

It looks good there, Mr Kapoor. Can we keep it in Sydney a bit longer?

We have the perfect spot for it.

We have the perfect spot for it.

14 Comments

Filed under Art, Travel-Australia

14 responses to “ANISH KAPOOR MAGIC – it’s all done with mirrors (mostly)

  1. So the mirror sky part of Anish Kapoor exhibition? ;o)))). I thought it was part of the MCA. Didnt get a chance to enter this exhibition :(

  2. Richard I think you should start a movement for the city to buy that magnifying glass! It’s just what we need – a really good piece of modern civic art down at our showpiece open air space. Why should Melbourne have all the best goodies? Seriously – a piece of Anish Kapoor magic is a necessity in a city that styles itself modern, edgy, arty …

    Guess it’ll be gone by the time I get back and down to Sydney – like it was when I was in Venice in 2011 – by the time I arrived they were packing up Mr. Kapoor’s exhibition. :(

    PS Why do they insist ‘no photography’? Don’t you think they’d want us to remember the terrific time we had when we went to the … exhibition, place, etc. etc.????

    • It would be great to have Sky Mirror here, but what about the costs in staff to clean up the seagull droppings?

      Yes, the ‘no photography ‘ rule. It seems to be being broken in most places. Mona Lisa was being photographed by about a thousand people at any given moment last time I tried to get near enough to see her.

  3. I’ve mostly never understood the no photography thing. One place that I can guarantee that no photography means no photography is the Lenin mausoleum in Moscow. Cameras and phones have to be handed in and if you did succeed in smuggling one in (very unlikely) then there are soldiers on duty to make sure you couldn’t use it!

    • ‘No photography’ means the museum in question has a much poorer chance of being publicised on this blog. If only they knew what they were missing out on!

      • I totally agree. I think it’s idiotic to forbid photography, particularly of public displays of art like this. I can understand that flash photography causes decay or something like that when you photograph really old paintings, etc. but a modern sculpture like this – surely it is a fabulous opportunity for creating positive publicity? (Rather than negative publicity?) And for a creative engagement between the work of art or the valuable piece of history and the photographer?

  4. Boy, does it look good! I tthink I shall work out my next itinerary based on the location of his exhibition :-)

  5. When we arrived in London at this time two years ago for another winter stay, we found ourselves in a flat next to Kensington Gardens, which had just installed three reflecting pieces by Kapoor. No restrictions on photography there. It was great seeing the reactions. I had never heard of him before and was blown away by the impact. The post I wrote up is at: http://jhalbrook.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/new-digs-in-old-london-town/
    A few of the better pics are at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jhalbrook/sets/72157625953395304/?page=3

    • Very nice pics too, John. Sky Mirror and C-Curve are both in the Sydney exhibition. From your shot of C-Curve I think it looked much better reflecting the trees of Kensington Gardens than inside in a gallery. A shame it wasn’t also outside in Sydney.

      To clarify the photography issue at the MCA…

      Of course there are no restrictions on photographing Sky Mirror outside the MCA, and the sign in the foyer is meant to apply to all exhibitions there. In practice, everyone was clicking away and nobody was stopping them.

  6. Roz

    Love his work too & like you manage to see many installations around world. By the way we had a visit from Kim Carpenter and Neil here in Tas.

  7. Awesome! What a shame I won’t be coming to Sydney any time soon :-(

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