Kapoor and other mirrors

My postings tend to go in (reflective?) couples, and since I just wrote one posting about Kapoor’s mirrors, one can safely expect another one soon. This second one will be again based on my own experience of one his works, though I would add few more other examples too. Last year we again went to Tuscany, our favourite place for summer vacations, and again  stopped by in Pietrasanta, a lovely picturesque town known for its art scene. It is there when we saw this work by Anish Kapoor called Phatasm. The sculpture was a part of an annual exhibition traditionally held in the old Sant’Agostino church in the center of the town. Technically speaking it is not a mirror, it’s just a marble block with a large hole, or a cave carved in it. But because of its shape – and especially because of the way how people interacted with this piece – it can as well be seen as a ‘dark mirror’: I made this, and the other pictures from a side, because when I was standing in from of this ‘mirror’, its surface was entirely black, deceptively black, as if there was no depth behind it. On the very first photograph you see how the boy is trying to check whether there is a space in this cave or it’s just a well-polished flat surface. A second later he will be stopped by the guard (who, as I wrote already, is always nearby in case of Kapoor’s works). Not only youngsters are puzzled with this piece, as often happens with this artist his works are interesting for people of all ages and kins. And similar to other ‘mirrors’, this is also not a flat surface, but a full fledge 3D piece, inviting your to walk around and experience ‘through-the-looking-glass’ a space. Description, written on a fluent art-speak, presented this work in a following manner: “The art work investigates the manifestation of void, as the different treatment of the materials ensures that the inner surface becomes glossy which, compared to the opacity of the exterior, allows that the emptiness is perceived by the viewer as a physical presence.” An emptiness as a fullness; one more piece of bombing for peace. *** I could have stopped here, but then decided to pile up few other works by Anish Kapoor here too, specifically his large outdoor mirrors. There are a lot of them already, installed in many places worldwide, so this is in no way a comprehensive list, but rather a stub to start with. The earliest example of such mirror-hole I found was made in 1997 (for the record, Phatasm is made in 2003). The Mirror-Hole used to be in the Museum of Art in New Orleans, but I don’t know if it’s there now, similar to many other buildings the museum suffered from the floods in 2005. Two years earlier, in 1995, Kapoor made this work, this time for indoor placement: This is not my picture, and it also does not provide any reference to estimate the size. In reality its height is 150 cm, and the depth of ‘hole’ is 90 cm, so one could literally ‘fall in’ there. This is the frontal view: *** But Kapoor also made plenty of more conventional mirrors, too, usually of concave form; again, below I am showing  only a few examples: Lately these ‘mirrors’ became even more complex, as they employ the so-called faceted surfaces. The Hexagon I was showing in the previous posting is one of such mirrors, and here is another one: Today if search for ‘Kapoor’ & ‘mirror’ in Google, you may get the images of this kind: I did my own contribution to the faceted avalanche, too, and one of such pictures even went to my aman-geld project some time ago: *** Does this cover all art-mirrors of Kapoor? Not at all, he also has many other creative works that use (or abuse) mirrors, in some way or another, which is great. More importantly, Kapoor continues to make new works, and we never know how his next ‘mirror’ will look like: *** Large-scale public mirrors is one of his specialities, and here Kapoor again made plenty of works, starting from his most famous Cloud in Chicago, and including numerous other works: But I sense that I will need to write a separate posting, perhaps after I will visit this Cloud myself. *** Anish Kapoor is a mirror titan, he made so many of them, and of so many forms and types that became a must-write-about artist for this blog. This doesn’t mean that I like all and every of his mirrors, on the contrary, most of them leave me very fairly indifferent, in fact, increasingly so.  His earlier works were original, but I see the latest craze with his mirrors resembling an industrial production, of the proven designs, not creative art works. I have recently bumped into a short clip made for the occasion of his participation in the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, in Kerala. All nice, smart & stuff, but at some point I start finding this pseudo-intellectual mumbling too pretentious and bombastic to really like, sorry.

As often happens with great artist, they better stay silent. His mirrors speak better, and say more. And for that reason I guess there will be more of them here.

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