Breathtaking Anish Kapoor exhibition in Berlin
It’s quite a coup for Berlin to be staging Anish Kapoor’s new exhibition – he is, after all, one of the world’s most famous and highly regarded sculptors, and he is a guaranteed draw, as his recent exhibitions at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and the Royal Academy in London have proved. But then Kapoor seems to appreciate this country’s approach to, and support of, the arts. He was recently quoted in the Guardian newspaper as saying: “Germans have a rather healthy respect for the arts and artists. In Germany, it seems that the intellectual and aesthetic life are to be celebrated and are seen as part of a real and good education.”
The show, at the Martin-Gropius-Bau near Potsdamer Platz, is Kapoor’s first major exhibition in Berlin, and covers an astonishing 3000 square metres, the whole of the ground floor. Half of the 70 or so exhibits are brand new works, including the centre piece, Symphony for a Beloved Sun.
Turner Prize-winner Kapoor was born in India, and moved to the UK in the 1970s. Over the decades he developed a style which pushes at the boundaries of art, incorporating natural and artificial materials to produce work which is both painting and sculpture. In the same way that his colourful, bold exhibition in the Turbine Hall provided a fascinating juxtaposition to that space’s heavy, sombre industrial architecture, so the new show provides a provocative dissonance to the Marin-Gropius-Bau’s elegant 19th century building.
Clay, wax, mirrors, splattered red paint, metal girders, punctured walls, balloons, cannons and conveyor belts are among the many textures and objects that make the exhibition a unique and arresting experience. It is not so much a show that you simply see, but one you experience and take away with you.
Berlin seems like the perfect city to showcase Kapoor’s work, both old and new. His art seems to suggest a search for identity, the exploration of unusual avenues of thought and context, and new forms deeply entrenched in history; all of which can be said of Berlin. Not that the artist would admit this was the case.
Although Kapoor has been quoted as saying, “I’ve nothing to say”, with reference to what his works actually ‘mean’, it can be guaranteed that visitors to the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum will.
Anish Kapoor exhibition
Niederkirchnerstraße 7, Mitte
until 24 November 2013