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  • Carmen Frigerio

 / From Black to Red

Anish Kapoor

Curated by Mario Codognato

The second exhibition that we visited was in Rome, at the MACRo (Museum for contemporary art of Rome). The exhibition was entirely dedicated to the Indian-British artist Anish Kapoor. 
In his work, we can recognize the influence of his origins in the colours he uses. Kapoor uses in fact the nuances of the spices: curcuma, paprika, curry, coriander, but also shiny gold, tilaka red and cobalt blue, which are the colours of the sari, but also of life, of the earth and of the spirit. The artist is so interested in the use of colours (like many before him, such as Gaugin), that in 2016 he bought the “Vantablack”, a black which absorbs 99,96% of light.

But the artist is also fascinated by the matter. Throughout his production, Kapoor used the matter in many different ways: his first works show all a certain beauty and elegance, given by the smooth surfaces and the delicate curves. Some examples of this first period are to see in some works at the MACRo, such as “Sectional Body Preparing for Monadic Singularity“.

Apocalypse and Millennium Apocalisse e Millennio, 2013 - Sectional Body preparing for Monadic Singularity, 2015

As time went on, this elegance was replaced by a destroyed and gaping matter, by decomposed and organic gashes, obtained by overlapping different layers of silicone and painting. This tore canvas become a metaphor of injured flesh and of blood, of the pain and violence. Works such as “Internal Objects in Three Parts” are a good example of this stylistic twist in the artist production.

The 30 works that were to see in Rome’s museum show therefor really well Kapoor’s formal and stylistic evolution in the last 4 years. The two pieces “Mirror (from Black to Red) ” and “Flayed” were done in the same year (2016), but they there is a strong difference though. The first is a perfect semi-sphere in aluminium, in front of which the viewer feels lost and swollen by the absolute geometrical and chromatic perfection of the object. The viewer is both attracted and disoriented by the magnetic red of the mirror and by the upside-down reflection, which makes on feel in another dimension. 

Internal Object in Three Parts Oggetto Interno in Tre Parti, 2013-2015

Mirror (Black to Red) Specchio (Da Nero a Rosso), 2016

The second work reminds to a big strip of meat and the colours as the same as in Mirror, but the subject is totally different. The same colours are used to represent something, which looks like the biceps of a slaughtering.

Even if these two works –and, more generally, the two periods of the artist- differ so much in the use of the matter, the works all have in common the same theme, i.e. the human being, with all his fears, his anxiety, his secrets and holocaust.

Kapoor cleverly plays with the contrasts, full and empty, concave and convex, smooth and rough, shiny and dull, light and shadow, in order to create pieces, which are brutal, visceral and sensual at the same time. This is why his objects seem to be alive, to breath.

Dissection Dissezione, 2012

Text and photos by © Carmen Frigerio

Anish Kapoor

Curated by Mario Codognato

MACRO Via Nizza 138, 00198 Roma


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