Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Anish Kapoor: Flashback

I rarely review art or exhibitions, it is a very difficult thing to do without alienating a section of (or even all of) the potential audience.

Art is often an inapproachable, difficult subject.  Particularly with modern art in mind it can also be very elitist, if you don't understand it, then you don't deserve to understand it.  Bullshit.  Art is for all, and with that in mind, we need accessible art.  By which I mean that sometimes interactive, sometimes pretty, impressive or interesting works are important in their own right.  That is not to say that art should be simple, no one wants, or needs to be patronised but sometimes blurring the line between the meta-physical and physical making a comment on the place of the archetypal alpha male in modern society communicated via the language of alternative dance can even for the best of us, be just a little contrived.  But great modern art can convert, it can be awesome, a little contrived, deep, beautiful and interesting, it can embrace the viewer.  Rothko made modern art accessible for me, by forcing me to be immersed in his work, by standing where he would have been.  I think Kapoor would have too, he was just beaten to the punch.

Anish Kapoor (CBE) is a Turner prize winning sculptor who has lived in London since the early 70's.  I don't like all of Kapoors work, piles of pigment don't really do it for me.  I do quite like his wax/wood or metal sculpture but purely on an aesthetic level.  But what really does it for me, and what I think will impress the dubious, the nervous and the unbelievers out there is his chrome sculptures.  Examples of these can be found currently in Manchester Art Gallery, his plates.  As you walk into the room it is a simple hall of mirrors.  As you move they do, picking up details in light and physical form, whispers from the other side of the room are clearly audible.  Stand a foot in front and you are immersed, your peripheral vision is full, you enjoy a total experience where slight movements change the art before you.  As you back away, the images you see drop away to leave the concave surface transformed, it is now a full view of the work behind you.  It is a personal experience, one that no two people will experience identically.

My co-conspirator, my five month old son, Felix, in this room had a smile from ear to ear, his eyes wide, occasional squeaks and giggles letting other patrons know he was impressed.  Getting down to his level, I saw glimpses of him in the top of the plates, a lava lamp melting pot of light fittings and building detail in the rest, not to mention the odd lanky figure.  Felix has no pompous notions of art, he is incapable, but he knows when something is fun, and he lets us know.
So if nothing else, if you're in Manchester and find yourself with a bit of time to spare, listen to Felix and go have some fun...

Flashback is on until the 5th of June and is free to enter.  

N.B. don't just Google him, go to the gallery, you need to experience the scale or it just won't work.

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