Anish Kapoor’s stone sculptures unveiled for the first time in Istanbul – picture feast

Anish Kapoor’s first major solo exhibition in Turkey features works that have never been seen in public before.

“Anish Kapoor in Istanbul” opened on 10 September 2013 at the Sabaki Sabanci Museum (SSM) and will run until 5 January 2014. The London-based Indian artist is showing never-before-seen stone sculptures in his first solo exhibition in the emerging art capital of Istanbul, a city with an age-old affinity for stone.

Anish Kapoor, 'Dragon', 1992, limestone and pigment, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Dragon’, 1992, limestone and pigment, dimensions variable. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

On 10 September 2013, world-renowned artist Anish Kapoor (b. 1954, Bombay) unveiled never-before-seen stone sculptures in his first major solo exhibition in Turkey, titled “Anish Kapoor in Istanbul”, on show at the Sabaki Sabanci Museum (SSM) until 5 January 2014. Curated by art historian and curator Sir Norman Rosenthal, previously Exhibitions Secretary of London’s Royal Academy of Arts, and organised in collaboration with Akbank for its 65th anniversary, the exhibition is the museum’s first show featuring a blue-chip contemporary artist.

Anish Kapoor, 'Tongue', 1998, vigaria marble, 176 x 111 x 135 cm. Image courtesy Private Collection.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Tongue’, 1998, vigaria marble, 176 x 111 x 135 cm. Image courtesy Private Collection.

In the press release, SSM Director Dr Nazan Ölçer said about the exhibition:

… Anish Kapoor is no stranger to Istanbul, where he has been to many times. Now here he is, bringing to our city stone pieces that he has been working on for years, many of which have never been displayed. Along with the stone pieces, iconic works such as Yellow and Sky Mirror are presented in our exhibition.

Anish Kapoor, 'With a Past', 2009, marble and river stones, 203 x 224 x 123 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘With a Past’, 2009, marble and river stones, 203 x 224 x 123 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

The latent sexuality of Kapoor’s sculptures

Talking to Sarah Bolwell of RA Magazine, Kapoor says that although the works span decades of his career, this show is not a retrospective but rather an exhibition of what he would calla semi-latent body of work.” He goes on to say, “I’ve always believed in latent bodies of work – works that don’t necessarily need the public view. They can feed the other work, with the public face.” The stone sculptures, mostly preserved in his open-air stoneyard in London, are now shown inside the galleries at the artist’s request, bringing the public in closer dialogue with the works. According to Kapoor, “stone sculpture often gets shown outside. But even if it’s big it loses its scale.”

Anish Kapoor, 'Sophia', 2003, vigaria marble, 215 x 123 x 133 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Sophia’, 2003, vigaria marble, 215 x 123 x 133 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

This so-called “latent body of work”, however, seems to have another less latent aspect to it, which the artist describes to RA Magazine as “too forward, too sexual, too heavy… slightly extravagant.” Indeed, some of the sculptures, such as Sophia or With a Past present discernible sexual symbols. These are balanced out with the more subtle, inevitably maternal character of other works, like the protuberant pregnant form of Imminence, or the more delicate wavy maternity evoked in Grace.

Anish Kapoor, 'Imminence', 2000, onyx, 180 x 167 x 88 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Imminence’, 2000, onyx, 180 x 167 x 88 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, 'Grace', 2004, vigaria marble, 291 x 170 x 150 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Grace’, 2004, vigaria marble, 291 x 170 x 150 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, 'Yellow', 1999, fibreglass and pigment, 550 x 550 x 275 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Yellow’, 1999, fibreglass and pigment, 550 x 550 x 275 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

Infinity set in stone

Kapoor is most widely known for his large scale works made of brightly coloured fibreglass and polished stainless steel, such as Chicago Millennium Park’s public monumental sculpture Cloud Gate and the above-mentioned Sky Mirror and Yellow, both on show in Istanbul. For this exhibition, the artist has shifted the focus to his unseen stone sculptures in marble, alabaster, granite and other rocks, which he has been working on for more than 25 years.

Anish Kapoor, 'Sky Mirror', 2010, stainless steel, diameter 290 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Sky Mirror’, 2010, stainless steel, diameter 290 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery.

The emphasis is on traditional craft, the relationship between human form and natural materials, and the timelessness of the resulting sculptures. Sir Rosenthal, in the press release, talks about how these works demonstrate an effortless agelessness:

What is especially remarkable about Anish Kapoor’s abstract stone works, which form the focus of the exhibition, is that they have their own specific ways of defining infinities and the concepts of time. When one looks at the stone sculptures, executed over the last three decades – works fashioned from marble, onyx, alabaster, granite, sandstone and other ‘rocks’ – many perspectives concerning the realities and philosophies of historical time come to mind. They invite the viewer to reflect three-fold on the mysteries of time buried within their form and substance. Kapoor is one of the only artists who follows the most ancient traditions, of carving or shaping, in order to achieve contemporary forms, each one full of individual and suggestive meaning. Perhaps the most particular aspect of so much of Kapoor’s work, and especially of the stone works, is a sense of agelessness, of hardly being able to guess at their moment of creation.

Anish Kapoor, 'Double', 2006, granite, 300 x 170 x 52 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Double’, 2006, granite, 300 x 170 x 52 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, 'Mollis', 2000, marble, 95 x 300 x 161 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Mollis’, 2000, marble, 95 x 300 x 161 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

In-between two cultures, the city of stone

Anish Kapoor specifically chose Istanbul as the venue for his solo exhibition, a city that has been named as one of the emerging art capitals in the recently published Art Cities of the Future: 21st Century Avant-Gardes. As the multicultural artist reveals in a video interview with Agence France-Press (AFP), the timeless city of Istanbul – historically a gateway between the West and the East, sitting at the tip of Asia Minor, and a cradle of traditional craft, ancient stone architecture and historical sights – just seemed as the appropriate backdrop for a show that focuses on the medium of stone sculpture.

Watch AFP’s short video interview with Anish Kapoor on youtube.com below or click here.

 

Anish Kapoor, 'Tomb', 1989, slate and pigment, 48 x 136 x 392 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Tomb’, 1989, slate and pigment, 48 x 136 x 392 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, 'Not Eve', 1989, sandstone and pigment, 213 x 85 x 86 cm. Image courtest Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Not Eve’, 1989, sandstone and pigment, 213 x 85 x 86 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, 'Untitled', 1992, sandstone, 188 x 107 x 67 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Untitled’, 1992, sandstone, 188 x 107 x 67 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, 'Flower', 2007, mixed media and paint, 245 x 123 x 36 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor, ‘Flower’, 2007, mixed media and paint, 245 x 123 x 36 cm. Image courtesy Kapoor Studio.

Anish Kapoor is represented by the Lisson Gallery, London; Gladstone Gallery, New York; Kukje Gallery, Seoul, and Galleria Continua and Galleria Massimo Minini in Italy.

C. A. Xuan Mai Ardia

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Related topics: Indian artists, scultpure, events in Istanbul, museum shows, picture feasts

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Comments

Anish Kapoor’s stone sculptures unveiled for the first time in Istanbul – picture feast — 1 Comment

  1. its great show of anish kapoors work the slay mirror is simple excellent. i am interested to show my works in your gallery how do go about it?

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