Carne Trémula. The name of Pedro Almodovar’s 1997 film is running through my head as I walk through a ground floor gallery , navigating fleshy red sculptures, monumental canvas and pvc architectural pieces, and vicious paintings/vivisections. This is what it must feel like to be inside a body, or more likely inside Anish Kapoor‘s brain, the artist whose eponymous exhibition at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (MACRO) is making half the guests shy away or inspiring a series of selfies (it’s a thing. Kapoor’s art makes a great selfie backdrop, subject or frame).
I love it.
Kapoor is a pretty brainy Indian-British artist, whose sculpture and paintings are best described as boundary-testing and bombastically biomorphic. Using material includingdirt, fiberglass, resin, canvas, steel, pvc, silicon, wood, wax and paint, playing on themes such as trauma, transformation, size, sexuality and emptiness, an single piece by Kapoor easily dominates the space around it. For the MACRO, Kapoor is showing 30 works of art (from 2005 to 2016), which beautifully fight for attention in a lone, white gallery.
“This is not art, this is science!”, shouts my eight-year-old and tireless colleague who has worked with me side by side for the past eight years, shuffling and hustling across Italy at every kind of exhibition possible- antiquities, Baroque masters, architecture. She is impressed and at the same time disgusted with Kapoor’s work. Animal hides hang like paintings (or is that the reverse?) and paintings seem to cavern into discombobulated body parts.
She tells me prefers his solid sculpture, both large and small. They are happier. But it seems that every piece makes hersmile as she cracks up at the names. Hunter. Flayed. Unborn. Hung. Inner Stuff. First Milk. Disrobe. Stench. Curtain. They sound like a forensics report. I’ll admit I cringe a little as I peer into what looks like the cross section of biopsy. When I lean in, I get lost in the depths of crimsons and vermillions.
Every piece by Kapoor traps you inside with deliberate intensity and meticulous beauty. And shown together in a collective, the 30 pieces show off the bicameral mind of the artist. Hot and cold, solid and fragile, big and small, reflective and porous, durability and decay. Duality at its biggest and best.
Oh yeah, now I get. Kapoor is playing with me, the viewer, and he’s playing with time. I have to come back.