The first major exhibition of British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor's work in Australia has opened tonight at Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, Michelle Hanna reports.
British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor is known for creating monumental public sculptures such as Cloud Gate - known as 'the Silver Bean' - in Chicago.
He's also responsible for the red Orbit tower which provided a backdrop to the London Olympic stadium this year.
A shining work of magnitude leans on the front lawn of the Museum of Contemporary Art, making it hard for a giant passenger liner to look impressive.
Inside the museum, deceptively simple structures reflect the complex world around them. “Well, it's both psychological and physical in a way,” says sculptor Anish Kapoor. “You almost can't avoid a projection of a state of mind in an object.”
Objects that are as much about themselves as the spaces around them: real, imaginary; implied or distorted.
“The objects never just describe the thing that they are; they are also something that they are not.” Kapoor explains. “So I think that's the game, if you like, between the viewer and the thing that they are looking at.”
The 58-year-old artist was born in Mumbai to an Iraqi-Jewish mother and a Hindi Punjabi father. After spending time in Israel as a teenager, he decided to study art in London, where he continues to live and work.
“Anish Kapoor is one of those artists who has an extraordinary ability to transform material,” said the Museum's Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor.
“He's a bit like a magician; he takes something very ordinary like pigment, or even concrete, and turns it into something almost magical. I think it is that ability to make the viewer feel part of the work, and to make the viewer almost want to disappear into it in some ways, that really is I think a little bit of his secret,” she told SBS.
A 24-ton steel sculpture that occupies a room at the exhibition is so big that the whole work can't be seen at once from any one angle. It makes the viewer question not only what they are seeing, but also wonder, how did it get inside the museum.
“It's been challenging, we've had to do interesting things with the building,” Macgregor said of the effort to install the works.
“There have been works we thought we couldn't get in. We had to have the police close George Street one night to bring works in through the roof. We've had tremendous co-operation from everybody.”
The exhibition will be on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art until April.
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