This unique exhibition, which is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in Australia, includes works from the early stages of Kapoor’s career to the present day. It explores the artist’s continual experimentation across a variety of materials including clay, plastic, pigment, steel and wax to create works of great visual power and emotional impact.
Highlights include one of the artist’s most ambitious works for a gallery, Memory (2008), which, in the work’s first presentation in the Southern Hemisphere, completely fills the MCA’s sizable Level 3 Gallery as if squeezed between the white walls. Viewers experience the rust-coloured bulbous structure from several angles including a window that looks into the cavernous interior space. By restricting the ability to view the whole work from a single point, Kapoor challenges the public to imagine the object in its entirety by piecing together memories of the work from different locations.
Anish Kapoor Memory, 2008 installation view, Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin 2009 Cor-ten steel. Image courtesy the artist and Deutsche Guggenheim © the artist. Photograph: Mathias Schormann
The exhibition also comprises a selection of the early works that first brought Anish Kapoor to prominence. Created following a short trip to India, 1000 Names (1979–80) consists of primary-coloured geometric forms produced using brightly coloured powdered pigments placed on the floor or situated on the wall.
Anish Kapoor 1000 Names, 1979-80 wood, gesso, pigment. Image courtesy and © the artist
Another highlight is Void (1989), a large concave shape coated in a deep blue pigment that toys with perception. The shape changes from a convex to a concave form depending on where the viewer is situated, whilst the colour of the piece disrupts the ability to determine the object’s true proportions.
Anish Kapoor Void, 1989 fibreglass, pigment. Image courtesy and © the artist. Photograph: Dave Morgan
The MCA’s spacious Level 1 North Gallery is the ideal setting for the enormous wax sculpture My Red Homeland (2003). In this monumental circular sculpture, a large motorised steel blade slowly cuts a course through 25 tons of wax and Vaseline mixed with a deep red pigment. Over the period of an hour the blade traces the circumference of the structure, which measures 12 metres in diameter, endlessly dissecting and re-shaping the wax into new forms. Drawing associations with organic material such as blood, My Red Homeland stimulates not only an emotional but also a physical response.
Anish Kapoor My Red Homeland, 2003 installation view, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2003 wax and oil-based paint, steel arm, motor. Image courtesy and © the artist. Photograph: Nic Tenwiggenhorn
“I am delighted that the MCA will be presenting the first major exhibition of my work in Australia. The show includes a wide range of work including examples of my more recent sculpture which I hope will be of interest to new audiences.” Anish Kapoor CBE
“An exhibition of the work of Anish Kapoor is long overdue in Australia and we are so pleased that Anish accepted our invitation to make a major exhibiton for the MCA. An exhibition that includes some of his most ambitious gallery-based works as well as the earlier pigment works that are so distinctive will undoubtedly resonate with a broad audience.” Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE
This major solo exhibition spread across two floors of the MCA is part of the Sydney International Art Series, bringing the world’s most outstanding exhibitions to Australia. It has been made possible with the support of the NSW Government through Destination NSW and is sponsored by Deutsche Bank. As part of his visit to Sydney for the opening, Anish Kapoor will present the Ann Lewis AO Contemporary Visual Arts International Address, supported through the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts.
The exhibition runs 20 December 2012 – 1 April 2013 at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.