With the presence of some of the most relevant personalities of contemporary art in the country, MUAC’s organizing staff, the dean of UNAM, partners and sponsors –including the British Council– the exhibition of the British-Hindi plastic artist Anish Kapoor titled “Archaeology : Biology” was inaugurated on May 27th and is expected to be one of the most exciting exhibitions of the year in Mexico.
According to Anish Kapoor –one of the most influent and renowned artists in contemporary art– when the process guides the artist, the work is a discovery: “I know that if I allow myself to inquire and investigate during the process, this will lead me to meanings that I couldn’t have been able to imagine”. This is the guiding principle of the exhibition, where the work acquires a life of its own and invites the spectator to get around the tour and experience a feeling of fullness and freedom of the shape in the space.
The exhibition is entitled “Archeology : Biology” since the art pieces appear in front of the spectator as an exercise of historic or cultural discovery of the object, as well as a study of the interior of the subject. This is a non-chronological retrospective that nonetheless offers a wide scope of Kapoor’s work, with pieces that were created between 1980 and 2015, in a tour on which the different art pieces reflect his artistic evolution throughout the years. It consists of 23 art pieces, three of which are large installations that occupy the rooms 1, 2, 3 and 9 of the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC). Each of these four rooms represents a main thematic core of the exhibition:
Room 1: AUTO-GENERATED FORM
According to Anish Kapoor, the pieces “are just there” which means that they appear to our eyes as a discovery process. This first section shows a material widely used by Kapoor since the late 70’s: pigment. Lacking a concrete materiality, this material succeeds in creating a visual effect of levitation. In order to reflect an intimate part of red (1981) is a clear example of this. Consisting of four red sculptures and a yellow one, this work shows the way on which the act of covering the pieces with pigment erases any trace of a human hand, giving the impression that the pieces have transformed by themselves.
Room 2: BEAUTY FORMS
This section puts a strain on the ideals of purity and mathematical precision by contrasting them with the concepts of the organic, the grotesque and the eschatological through a strange harmony between the pieces that suggest destruction, uncertainty and decomposition, and those that are geometric and perennial.
The Ga Gu Ma installation (2011-2012) for instance, consists of 22 columns created by computer, which propose the visitor a tour through the space, speaking to him about the excremental process of the human body and the decomposition of order or its transformation.
Room 3: TIME
“Time” is the third section, and consists solely of At the edge of the world (1998), a huge red dome that floats over us at more than 2 meters high. As the curator Catherine Lampert points out, on this monumental structure “deep space comes closer to the condition of emptiness; a representation of infinity”. According to Kapoor, this piece aims to “manipulate the spectator towards a specific relationship with space and time”, putting into play the place, the piece and the spectator.
Room 9: UNPREDICTABLE FORCES
The pieces on this room aim to express the sensation of unpredictable forces capable of alluding to unsatisfied wishes and the darkness within us. My red homeland (2003) is the main piece of this last section of the exhibition. This colossal circular platform contains more than twenty tons of a scarlet viscous paste in movement, being Kapoor’s goal to create a work that made itself; whilst at the back of the room sits Archaeology and biology (2007), a profound cavity with a dark interior that has the aspect of a wound on the wall.
In Anish Kapoor’s opinion, MUAC is an incredible and unique space and one of the best places to show his work. In his own words: “I’ve shown pieces in many museums all over the world, but very rarely the sculptures sit so well, there’s something about the light, the reality of the floor, the walls…”
This exhibition aims for Anish Kapoor’s work to be the starting point to reflect about the possibilities that the creative act implies, offering Mexico city citizens a unique opportunity to witness the work of one of the most influent and interesting artists of contemporary plastic arts.