Friday, 23 October 2009

Anish Kapoor and The Sacred Made Real

I spent Friday in London and visited firstly The Royal Academy to see the exhibition by Anish Kapoor. It's been described as 'a succession of physical and psychological experiences to draw us into his search for a poetic sculptural language that seems to reach beyond the object.'

It consists of a number of exhibits in wonderful shapes, colours, different materials and textures, and the overall effect is dramatic, sensual, playful and allusive. The photo of the amazing sculpture in the Courtyard, 'Tall Tree and the Eye', doesn't do justice to the effect of the reflections in each sphere.

I heard a children's guide ask repeatedly, 'How does this make you feel?' and this tellingly reinforced that this is not a head-thing!

I then went to the National Gallery for The Sacred Made Real. This consisted of hyper realistic sculptures and devotional paintings from seventeenth and eighteenth century Spain, depicting Christ in his sufferings, as well as the saints and the Virgin Mary. This art is 'stark, austere and often gory, with the intention of shocking the senses and stirring the soul'. While my soul wasn't greatly stirred, the paintings, which are clearly influenced by the sculptures, and the sculptures, carved in wood and then polychromed by another artist, are masterpieces. A nice touch is that on the audio-guide, incidental music to the exhibition has been composed by the pianist, Stephen Hough.

Of the two, the sacred was made more real by the Anish Kapoor, than by The Sacred Made Real!

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