The bracketing of my categories won’t always be very lucid, as certain topics can shift from different categories, depending on how you interpret them. Contrary to what you would expect, this post is not purely about art or a museum-to-visit. It is about how I see and interpret certain things, in this case an exhibition, to include a subjective aspect. That is what category ICE is all about.
SUMMER ICE NO CREAM
This summer I visited a magnificent exhibition at the Martin Gropius-Bau in Berlin. This museum, first opened in 1881 and later reconstructed after World War 1, stands on a spot that combines east and west. Initially built in a Renaissance style by Martin-Gropius and Heino Schmeider, this Museum of Applied Arts is the ideal location for Anish Kapoor’s exhibition. This contemporary sculptor from Mumbai, India, started off his successful career in London, back in the eighties. Exhibiting in this major museum in Kreuzberg, Berlin, which itself already stands on a borderline, thus works as a beautiful symbolism or even parallelism. The works at the Martin-Gropius-Bau are especially designed for the building, which you will notice when entering the large hall where Symphony for the Beloved Sun will overwhelm you with silence, grace and magnitude.
Kapoor obviously likes to engage the visitor, as you have to take a closer look at the works which range from works of clay to machinery and pigment. He certainly keeps you fascinated during the exhibition, especially when you enter halls where a whole artwork occupies the space of two or more rooms. It is a great experience if you have always thought that sculptors only create abstract blocks or bodies of ancient gods in clay. No, this exhibition is more divine than that assumption. There are not many words needed to describe it, neither are images. It does remain abstract, so I will keep this review like that as well. You need to go and experience the exhibition, yes: experience and not just visit, to get to the soul of it. Only one picture survived in my secret mission to take some of the Kapoor experience with me, which is the one you see above. I certainly recommend to have a look at Kapoor’s complete biography in Anish Kapoor: Past, Present, Future, by Nicholas Baume, as this is what they would call in modern terms “a shout-out” to Kapoor and not a mere historical compilation of his works.
In my personal interpretation, Kapoor seems to be crying out about the future. Especially when he is worshipping the Sun, while the red pigmented wax is melting all over the machinery. It looks like the sun is getting hotter and the icebergs are bleeding, melting and not returning back onto the reproducing machine, but falling onto a pile of forgotten wax. The relation to the other works, of which one is even called Apocalyps, could fit in my interpretation. It seems poetical, but that is what art should make you do, I think. Make poetry out of what you see and make it so personal that it becomes unique and touches you.
So: read about Kapoor’s past, look at his exhibition on the future and enjoy his works in the present, because that is what sculpture is: a steady performance you get in touch with, here and now.
Anish Kapoor in Martin-Gropius-Bau from 05/18/2013 to 11/24/2013