March 13, 2012

The Spirited Workshop - Anish Kapoor

Elle Decor Italia
by Paolo Campostrini
photos by Vincent Mercier

Located in an old building in London is the studio of Anish Kapoor. Where things are cut, welded, ground and polished. All focused on the Absolute.

In his workshop, where almost impossible solid engineering takes shape, Anish Kapoor searches for unexplored spaces between matter and light; those metaphysical flashes which emerge from steel when it is polished so rigorously that it seems like liquid mercury and becomes a misshapen mirror (the Cloud Gate in Chicago), where onlookers can discover the face they never knew they had. It is a workshop of solid people run by Kapoor; 15 post-conceptual art labourers who work with him in a large industrial warehouse south of London. "I want them to be agile, in their heads and in their legs," says the Anglo-Indian sculptor of anti-matter. "An idea is worth nothing in itself but only makes sense as the conclusion of a journey of experimentation and work".

After spending just a couple of hours in the workshop, it becomes clear that art, in order to become a spiritual adventure, must first involve the body. Kapoor and his workers use masks because it is dangerous to bring out the soul of matter: splinters, smoke, chemical emissions, acids which peel away even the more resistant surfaces. It is a veritable Vulcan hothouse which supports a construction madness that is attempting to overcome the borders between solids and gases.

In 2012, we will see the highest installation ever constructed: a spiral (the Orbit) which will rise above Olympic London for 115 meters. It is a tower of Babel which, for some, is an anthem for the useless and, for others, is the unexplored, the latest among many works to challenge the static. Works which reveal his obsessions: for red (My red Homeland at Besana, in wax) or for the dragon (The Leviathan for Monumenta 2011, at Grand Palais, in PVC). We, too, have our obsessions, but by getting into his works, we can at least learn to recognize them.

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