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Anish Kapoor, Royal Academy, London

September 24, 2009

Reviewed by Tom Lubbock

Thursday, 24 September 2009

The silliest work in the Anish Kapoor exhibition is a kind of shooting range. A cannon is aimed through one of the Royal Academy’s ornate doorways. (The public are safely held back.) Every 20 minutes, an operator loads it with a bucketful of deep red gunk. It fires. The gunk hits the wall through the doorway, dribbles down, piling up at the bottom, with much spatter. This will accumulate over the next three months.

Art attack: frivolity outweighs solemnity in Anish Kapoor's RA exhibition

Art attack: frivolity outweighs solemnity in Anish Kapoor’s RA exhibition

It’s silly because it’s an unhappy mixture of solemn and fun. You have the severe sensory purity of an intense single colour – against the merriment of guns, bangs, splats, sticky mess all over. Kapoor’s work has always been on the edge of entertainment, even as it’s tempted to high and grand pretension.

His earliest signature sculptures from the early 80s were geometrical solids on the floor, covered in powdered pigments.

His earliest signature sculptures from the early 80s were geometrical solids on the floor, covered in powdered pigments. Their colours were so intense, your eye lost its grip on their volumes. It’s good to see these small, dazzling objects again. This isn’t a retrospective, but there’s enough here to remind you of Kapoor’s powers as an illusionist. He’s invented some very original optical tricks.

Read more at: Anish Kapoor, Royal Academy, London

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