83

British artist Anish Kapoor makes a sensation in Versailles

 

Anish Kapoor has laid siege to the Château de Versailles. Numéro met with the star artist.

Dirty Corner.

Today in the world of art things have become like the music business. While artists’ output is discussed by the critics, who help a wider audience discover the works and understand the processes behind them, in some cases criticism remains ineffective. Few would attempt a serious analysis of Lady Gaga or Rihanna’s latest album, for example – instead there would be talk of a “phenomenon,” of record-breaking sales, of the number of Twitter followers, of marketing strategies, videos and dress codes. And the art world also has its pop stars. They don’t necessarily wear eccentric outfits, but their success – both on the art market and with popular audiences – brings them, if not uncontested legitimacy, at least worldwide fame and influence. Anish Kapoor, along with Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, belongs to this select group. Like Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus, these three big names are carried along by two highly effective rationales: the constant need to do something bigger (a star must by nature reach the firmament) and the pursuit of controversy (stars have been talked about since time immemorial, by astronomers, astrologists or mariners).

 The Anglo-Indian artist is a past master of large-scale pieces: the futurist curves of his 35m-long, 12-tonne Leviathan, for example, attracted 280,000 visitors to Paris’s Grand Palais in 2011. 

To date, the Koons retrospective at the Centre Pompidou holds the attendance record for a living artist (over 650,000 visitors), and Anish Kapoor has been invited to create work in the gardens at Versailles. The Anglo-Indian artist is a past master of large-scale pieces: the futurist curves of his 35m-long, 12-tonne Leviathan, for example, attracted 280,000 visitors to Paris’s Grand Palais in 2011. Kapoor gave a foretaste of his latest intervention in France: “The idea behind my Versailles project isn’t just to place one or two of my works there like decorations. It’s a place that really doesn’t need decorating. What interests me is turning Le Nôtre’s gardens upside down. I want to shake up this geometric object, with its perfect perspectives that express the idea of eternity, and bring in real Nature, in all her capacity for disorder, death, decomposition and abjection.” Evidently he intends to make a sensation. 

A gaping vaginal orifice will thus face the château: the phallic structure, an eternal symbol of state power, will be countered by a female power that has issued from the womb of the Earth. 

Kapoor has installed his majestic intervention on the Tapis Vert, a 335m-long grass parterre. Running down it is a huge reddish membrane, 60m long and 10m high, which recalls to a certain extent Marsyas, his 2002 installation in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. A gaping vaginal orifice will thus face the château: the phallic structure, an eternal symbol of state power, will be countered by a female power that has issued from the womb of the Earth. Since Kapoor seems determined to train his fire on all that Versailles represents, he couldn’t have found a better weapon than his work Shooting into the Corners (2009). Installed in the  Salle du Jeu de Paume (where France’s parliament was born during the Revolution), it consists in a cannon that shoots red-wax balls weighing between 5 and 6kg into one corner of the room (protected by a white wall, may conservationists of all stripes be reassured) where they burst in a gory explosion.

 

By Thibaut Wychowanok

 

Anish Kapoor at château de Versailles, until November 1.

 

 

Read the full article in issue 164 of Numéro, currently available at newsstands and on the iPad.

→ Subscribe to Numéro

→ Subscribe to the Numéro iPad application

Interview with Takashi Murakami, a pop icon
789

Interview with Takashi Murakami, a pop icon

Art Drawing from Japanese popular culture and the world of manga, his spectacular artworks have brought him global fame and have been shown at such diverse and prestigious locations as New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate Modern and the Château de Versailles. Takashi Murakami was also a pioneer with respect to his iconoclastic fashion collaborations, an approach that he continues to explore today by co-producing exhibitions with the designer Virgil Abloh. Drawing from Japanese popular culture and the world of manga, his spectacular artworks have brought him global fame and have been shown at such diverse and prestigious locations as New York’s MoMA, London’s Tate Modern and the Château de Versailles. Takashi Murakami was also a pioneer with respect to his iconoclastic fashion collaborations, an approach that he continues to explore today by co-producing exhibitions with the designer Virgil Abloh.

Albert Oehlen, the painter of pop culture exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice
249

Albert Oehlen, the painter of pop culture exhibited at Palazzo Grassi in Venice

Art Like a free-jazz jam session, his canvases bring together a whirlwind of references, from pop culture to figuration to abstraction, blended in hyper-controlled chaos. François Pinault’s Venice museum is currently celebrating the work of German painter Albert Oehlen. Like a free-jazz jam session, his canvases bring together a whirlwind of references, from pop culture to figuration to abstraction, blended in hyper-controlled chaos. François Pinault’s Venice museum is currently celebrating the work of German painter Albert Oehlen.

Who is Yuko Hasegawa, a japanese art authority ?
878

Who is Yuko Hasegawa, a japanese art authority ?

Art 2018 is a great year for japanese art in France, with a whole host of concerts, dance shows, theatrical events and exhibitions being planned. Top of the bill is hang at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the work of Yuko Hasegawa, the greatly respected chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. 2018 is a great year for japanese art in France, with a whole host of concerts, dance shows, theatrical events and exhibitions being planned. Top of the bill is hang at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, the work of Yuko Hasegawa, the greatly respected chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

How Art Basel moved from must-see fair to global brand
866

How Art Basel moved from must-see fair to global brand

Art Basel, Miami, Hong Kong and soon Buenos Aires – Art Basel keeps on expanding its horizons, to the point where its name now rivals big global brands like Coca Cola in fame and recognition. Basel, Miami, Hong Kong and soon Buenos Aires – Art Basel keeps on expanding its horizons, to the point where its name now rivals big global brands like Coca Cola in fame and recognition.

Artists and hackers, they hijack new technologies
861

Artists and hackers, they hijack new technologies

Art Algorithms, coding, data, hardware – what use (or misuse) can artists make of all these new technological tools? This is the fascinating question asked by a double exhibition at the centre pompidou, to which Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has been invited as guest of honour. Algorithms, coding, data, hardware – what use (or misuse) can artists make of all these new technological tools? This is the fascinating question asked by a double exhibition at the centre pompidou, to which Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda has been invited as guest of honour.