Anish Kapoor the highly regarded contemporary British artist has created controversy with his latest Paris exhibition, opening at the Palace of Versailles, on 9th June. Kapoor, brings a more political perspective on power and its depiction at Versailles as it celebrates the tercentenary of Louis XIV’s death. From June to October, his works stand in the Gardens and for the first time in a unknown though emblematic location in Versailles.
The one sculpture making waves is titled ‘Dirty Corner’, the installation sits in the grounds outside the palace. Mr Kapoor told a French interviewer it signified “the vagina of the queen coming into power” – but later said the work was open to interpretation. Mr Kapoor said on Friday he was misquoted in an earlier interview.”A work has multiple interpretive possibilities,” he said. “Inevitably, one comes across the body, our bodies and a certain level of sexuality. But it is certainly not the only thing it is about.”The Versailles palace was the home of Marie Antoinette, the 18th Century queen of France.
Anish Kapoor’s work doesn’t exist alone but through its viewer. The visitor at Versailles will witness the dualities of artist’s work: heaven and earth, visible and invisible, inside and outside, shadow and light… This universe can be read through experience and imagination. The originality of this exhibition, what makes it unique, even to those who have long been familiar with Kapoor’s work around the world, is that in Versailles his vision meets an imagination set in stone by history. The very controlled landscape of Versailles is drawn into instability. The grounds become uncertain and moving. Waters swirl. Romantic ruins take hold of the Tapis Vert. Exposed interior orifices are hidden within the garden’s labyrinths. The mirrors that are so central to Versailles now distort it. This world is perhaps about to tip over. It is not by chance that Anish Kapoor was the first to push open the door to the Jeu de Paume, which he considers as a work of art in itself, to exhibit his installation.
His first solo exhibition took place in Paris in 1980 in Patrice Alexandre’s workshop. Since the 1980s, he has gone on to exhibit his work in numerous galleries and institutions internationally. He represented the United-Kingdom at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and won the Turner Prize the following year. Several major exhibitions of his work have taken place in France, in Grenoble, Bordeaux and Nantes. Kapoor has become recognized for his creation of monumental works. These include Taratantara in 1999 at the Baltic Centre, and then in Naples; Marsyas at Tate Modern, Leviathan in 2011 at the Grand Palais, as part of the Monumenta project, and Ark Nova, an inflatable, mobile concert hall. Public commissions include Cloud Gate in Chicago; Temenos in Middlesbrough, and the spectacular Orbit, created for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
The Turner Prize winner was born in Bombay in 1954, Anish Kapoor lives and works in London. His creations are often displayed in the most famous museums and international institutions. In France, his latest great exhibition was in 2011 when he moved his Leviathan into the Grand Palais for Monumenta.
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Anish Kapoor: 9 June to 1 November 2015, Palace of Versailles, a major contemporary art exhibition in the gardens.