Considered one of the most influential artists of his generation, Anish Kapoor has received critical acclaim for his interactive sculptures and installations. For the following six months, London’s Kensington Gardens is home to a four-piece sculpture installation that distorts its surroundings. The exhibition entitled Turning the World Upside Down is an outdoor installation, a first for Kapoor in London. The large mirrored sculptures that adorn the gardens are proof of the artist’s ingenuity and have Londoners fascinated. Already, people can be seen with digital camera in hand attempting to record their experience as Kapoor breaks away from the gallery space creating art for all.
The pieces are constructed of Stainless Steel and rely on their reflective surfaces…
The exhibition, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine Gallery, consists of Sky Mirror, C-Curve, Sky Mirror Red and Non-Object (Spire), which are located between the pond and Serpentine Bridge. The pieces are constructed of Stainless Steel and rely on their reflective surfaces. Kensington Gardens, being as expansive as they are, made finding these objects a concern; however Kapoor’s pieces can be spotted easily as they seem to stand out in their environment.
Sky Mirror, the first of the four, was previously exhibited outside the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan. It is a large, rather dramatic, satellite-shaped object separated from the viewer by the water. It is tilted upwards, reflecting the sky, and on an overcast day, it reflects the ominous grey clouds above and seems to bring the sky down to the ground. The convex side reflects a bird’s eye view of spectators and surrounding greenery.
Walking towards the pond, park goers will be confronted by the large freestanding C-Curve. The curved mirror reflects a distorted scene to viewers as they approach. A bit like a hall of mirrors, elongating, bulging and inverting the viewer, forcing them to reassess their relationship with the surroundings.
…making us consider the immensity of the mysterious glowing sky above…
Further along, installed within the round pond is Sky Mirror Red, it seems to be the smaller sister of Sky Mirror. The blood red disc reflects the clouds in an almost painterly manner making us consider the immensity of the mysterious glowing sky above. Walking away from the sculpture, it seems impossible not to turn back and have a final glimpse of the disc which seems like a setting sun in the distance.
Moving east through the gardens, a shimmering form seems to project itself out of the grass. The final of the four, Non-Object (Spire) reflects itself and the trees that encircle it; however on getting closer, it replaces its own reflection with that of the viewer. Also freestanding, it is tipi-shaped, with a pointed top. The gleaming piece has an almost tactile quality making one want to reach out and grab it. It reflects the landscape from the bottom running up to the point and back down again with an elongated reflection of the viewer in the centre.
The ever-changing London weather will alter the pieces, reflecting the colours and moods of the changing seasons…
Kapoor’s exhibition encourages viewers to experience their surroundings in a new manner and to contemplate the relationship between environments and people. The pieces are inviting, allowing viewers to stumble upon them and approach them up close. This is unlike the ritualistic space of the museum or gallery, which provide strict direction in an intimidating manner. The artist has destroyed the boundary between the artwork and its surroundings, allowing the environment and audience to become part of the sculptures. The ever-changing London weather will alter the pieces, reflecting the colours and moods of the changing seasons, thus making the works dynamic and continuously in progress. This exhibition is aesthetically spectacular and provides a fantastic experience.
The exhibition runs until 13 March 2011.
Kensington Gardens, London.