Anish Kapoor is one of the British artists that I have a lot of time for and I was extremely excited when I got the advanced press about his latest show at the Lisson Gallery. The show is heralded as his ‘radical return’ to painting and all was intriguing until I attended the Private View last night.
The paintings are not really paintings at all, although they were hanging on the wall. I think they are better described as wall reliefs. These heavy, waxy, resin creations share the palette of broken bones mixed with congealed blood. These are not abstracts but photorealist depictions resembling Regent’s Park Zoo after a steamroller has rampaged through it.
Mr Kapoor has sighted Chaim Soutine’s great paintings of rotting carcasses as an influence and it is quite a plausible comparison. Rembrandt and Bacon are also bantered about but there is something far more reminiscent of H.R. Giger and his Alien Si fi creations (minus the fantasy) in these works. I’m not saying this is a bad thing as power and beauty can come from very different areas of the brain. If roadkill can be beautiful than this is viscera personified. It is not an exhibition that will be quickly forgotten.
When I was at Art School it was quite the rage to nail things to canvases and splatter them with red paint. These latest creations remind me just of those pieces. Admittedly these ‘paintings’ are a continuation of Kapoor’s wax cannon, which shot balls of Gouda Cheese wax onto the walls of the Royal Academy. However, they are crude and out of step with the refined mirrored steel sculptures that are Mr Kapoor’s trademark. At £695,000 a pop these paintings are not for the faint hearted and assuredly not his best work.
The film critic Mark Kermode once said that horror directors are often the nicest people you could meet while comedy directors can be a bunch of bastards. I have to agree that Anish is talented and a very nice guy but on leaving the gallery I didn’t head to Cote for a steak but had vegetarian dim sum instead.
© Artbytch 2015