Kapoor speaks

“Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future” at the ICA
By GREG COOK  |  June 3, 2008
London sculptor Anish Kapoor was in town last week to visit Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, which opened the exhibit “Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future” on Friday. When I met with him there, he’s some of what he had to say:

“Art at one level is effect. And art is illusion. So I’ve always believed that the illusionistic in a way is allowed. Now in the age of Disney we have a certain association with the notion that anything illusionistic is also trivial. And I suspect that the true and deeper illusions are not trivial at all, they’re very profound.”

“At a simple level let’s take a work like Iris, which is for me a recessed concave mirror. For me it’s not a mirrored object or the illusion that it gives of upsidedownness or whatever. For me it’s a space full of mirror. And that does something quite different from any mirror that you’ve ever looked at. It’s a space full of mirror. There’s something ethereal about it. There’s something not quite real about it. There’s a kind of virtualness to it. I think it’s a new kind of space. It’s a new proposition, a new idea about the way space is affected, about the status of an object. It’s not quite there. And that’s why I’m interested in it.”

“The minimalists, of course, were very, very concerned with the idea that ‘What you saw was what you saw.’ That’s it, it’s there, nothing else. Now, I’m afraid I don’t believe that. I’m afraid I believe that what you see isn’t what you see. It’s never what you see. It never was what you see.”

“Our ability to project meaning, our need to project meaning is so all-encompassing that we do it given just the smallest amount of information. And that as an artist one can direct that need for meaning. I think that’s one of the things I’m really engaged in.”

“Much of the imagery, many of the forms I’ve worked with over the years are very sexual. Let’s say that the modernist tradition in form — which is only one way of speaking about it, but why not — is mostly phallic, mostly upward and onward, and it leads to the rocket and the spaceship. I have a feeling that the truly modern, meaning modern of today, the ultra-modern form is inside-out. And I’m trying to look for it. I try to look for inside-out forms. If one could say there’s a shape to the Internet, I’d say it was inside-out. Or rather involuting. That’s one way of talking about something. Now, I like the idea that there’s a kind of little space on the inside of your armpit that has a — I know it, you know it, we all know it, it’s there as something, it’s a basic, it’s a kind of hollow that we instantly recognize. I want to get there, I want to get to that. Sometimes it’s an asshole, sometimes it’s vaginal. And I think that’s okay. That’s part of this, if you like, adventure. So the anthropomorphizing of the idea of an involuted form is something I’m engaged with.”

Related: The illusionist, A certain kind of disorientation, Styrofoam sorcery, More more >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Anish Kapoor, Anish Kapoor, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
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