Tuesday, 8 December 2009

WAX TREATMENT

The other week we went (with Roger and Sheila) to the Anish Kapoor exhibition at the Royal Academy which features the work, 'Shooting into the Corner', in which, every 20 minutes, a canon is fired which discharges 'shells' of red wax though one of the RA doorways.

When the exhibition began, it looked like this...




Now it looks a whole lot messier...

Bloodshot IV

The young man responsible for firing the canon on the day of our visit (not the one in the film above), sat behind the stacked up shells of wax intently reading until the time came to fire the next missile, which he undertook with an imperious toss of his hair and the melodramatic flourish of a seasoned post-modern existentialist that was ludicrous but, also, happily hilarious.

Target

Another chunk of way having hurtled through the gallery at 50 miles an hour and splattered against the wall of the farther room. After which, the arty-artilleryman made a theatrical exit, returning to his book which was, in all likelihood, one of the lesser-known works of Kierkegaard.

Cannon Fodder
There were lots of intriguing exhibits on show which we weren't able to photograph, but which are glimpsed in this film...



The important thing about Kapoor is to respond to and enjoy what he does whilst, at all costs, avoiding the inevitably pretentious statements that art-fancier's attach to his work and with which the accompanying guide is liberally laced. To wit...

The drama of 'Shooting into the Corner' takes place in a space set apart, rather like a boxing ring, a ritual arena in which a symbolic act of violence is allowed to occur... The world also merges the boundaries of painting and sculpture. With connotations of action painting and references to artists such as Jackson Pollock, Kapoor implies that the very act of making a mark is violent. And yet, out of this violence, something of beauty arises. Blah-blah, blah-blah-blah...

The question that exercised us during our visit was how the Royal Academy cleaners are going to get rid of all the wax that Mr Kapoor has splattered all over the interior of Burlington House.

Ever the librarians, Sheila and Roger tracked down an answer in the pages of The Guardian. The answer is, apparently, orange-oil. Which is great to know, except that with the amount of wax they've got to contend with, Londoners are going to be lucky if they find any oranges in their Christmas stockings this year...

Anyway, outside the RA is one of Kapoor's most exciting sculptures: 'Tall Tree and the Eye'...

Bubbles III
Dwarfing the bronze statue of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Kapoor has constructed a tower of gleaming bubbles (or, bearing in mind the season, baubles), each reflecting the surroundings - including the other baubles and their reflections - and which is, quite simply, the best Christmas Tree in town this year...

Sir Joshua and Mr Kapoor I

Bubbles VI

Bubbles & Flag II

See it before the exhibition ends in three days time, on 11 December.

And view more images of Kapoor's sculpture in my flickr set, Arty-facts.

LATER: By the way, for 'canon' (above) please read 'cannon'. I decided not to correct this error as it would make nonsense of Sheila's comment (below)!

Images: Brian Sibley and David Weeks, © 2009

5 comments:

Eudora said...

I'm glad that Mr Kapoor Shooting into the Corner isn't one of the works exhibit in "my museum". Can you imagine a shoot like that every 20 minutes?, all the day...24explosions per day...

On the contrary I like veryy much that bubble-tree.

Sheila said...

Oh, Brian, what a brilliant homonym! I'm sure the Bishop will be pleased to hear that red canons are being fired against a Royal Academy wall - now, what should we do with the blue ones?

Twisoder: A sophisticated Christmas game to replace the passe Twister

Suzanne said...

I hadn't noticed the typo! But then it is spelt "canon" in French so I can be excused! Orange oil eh? The tree is fantastic!defzshi: a multiple reflexion in an unusual object, more especially found in Poland

SharonM said...

I'm surprised to find that I'm the first to suggest that it's a case of taking the expression 'waxing lyrical' to the extreme.

Gloria said...

Ah! Finally!

A denunciation of the evils of wax epilation!

It would be purr-fect if the gunner was made up to look like Vincent Price