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PHOTO BY DAVID HARTLEY, COURTESY OF GIBBS ESTATE

line. The series will collectively be titled the Tees Valley Giants. “All these projects are about interrogating form, and making large-scale objects that manage to be as ethereal as they are substantial,” Kapoor says. “This is without doubt the biggest art project in the world. In terms of ambition and scale—everything—it’s massive.” But massive is just the beginning. “I want to occupy the territory!” proclaims Kapoor, and so he does. I visited a work privately commissioned by veteran art patron Alan Gibbs, in Kaipara, New Zealand, where the artist had bulldozed a void in a mountainside. Kapoor explains that, in a similar vein to L’Origine du Monde, the New Zealand piece is a play on the idea of absence. “The forces of sculpture are the very same ones as the forces of nature,” he says. “They are kind of conceits of that order.” In this project, the flayed red skin of his Marsyas structure is splayed across the landscape, and the portal of this tubular organ leads through the mountain’s hollow and flares open triumphantly on the other side. As with Memory, not being able to see the whole work in its entirety is an important part of the experience that Kapoor describes as “mental sculpture.” The artwork is viewed both from across the valley and then from inside—as through a birth canal—before visitors emerge from the dark into the pristine vista of Kaipara Bay. Whereas the Marsyas exhibit seemed intentionally boxed in and claustrophobic, here the sculpture, eight-stories high, blossoms in the open landscape, voluptuously stretching across swells and dips in the land without obstructions to the viewer’s gaze. Kapoor refers irreverently to these tubular sculptures as “colostomy bags,” and he describes the visceral quality of his sculptures by saying, “There’s something very compelling about sculpture that says, ‘Come inside and be part of this—engage at some physical level.’ Art is good at intimacy.” He also exploits the carnal, visceral power of red. “It’s the color of the interior of our bodies. In a way, it’s inside-out, red,” he suggests. The west wind breathes life into the Kaipara sculpture, causing the taut red skin to respire like the belly of a giant. Often, there’s an incidental aural impact to his sculptures: the tubular gourd-shapes and wind-funnels distort or focus sound. Even at his studio, the concave mirrors that hang on the walls alter the pitch of voices in the room, becoming still listening posts. Sculpture in open land has to weather wind, sun and rain. Gibbs believes the PVC fabric used in the Kaipara installation

might last 20 years or so, enough time, he jokes, to pass responsibility for its upkeep on to his family. Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago has a frame engineered by Aerotrope, designed to expand and contract under changing temperatures and to theoretically last a thousand years. The mirrored surface of Cloud Gate has a seamless perfection from which Kapoor has removed all traces of fabrication, but there has been a progression towards “exposure” in Kapoor’s recent projects. A subway entrance in Naples, developed with architectural firm Future Systems (and which Kapoor calls “a work of art that happens to be a tube station”), is made of CORTEN steel, which rusts and darkens into ochres and siennas as part of its transformative process. The monumental quality of Kapoor’s sculptures makes them relate to architecture, in the sense that we can inhabit them and walk around them. Yet, while he cites Louis Kahn as a favorite architect, Kapoor argues that in general, architects shouldn’t necessarily be considered artists or sculptors just because they work with light and space. Simplifying the distinction, Kapoor jests, “I love making sculptures and collaborating with architects, but I want to live in a house that’s a happy home, not an artwork.” Nevertheless, the architectural challenges posed by his colossal projects have lead him to collaborate intensely with engineers. Christopher HornzeeJones, the structural engineer on Cloud Gate and Memory, says, “[Kapoor’s] work often takes us engineers into new territory and out of what has been done before. But this is where the fun starts. I think Anish knows that we don’t like saying that something cannot be done, and as an artist he appreciates this attitude.” Sponsored by wealthy British industrialist Lakshmi Mittal (the CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker), Kapoor’s next project is a £19m, 380 feet high tower for the 2012 London Olympic site. The planned tower, which appears to rise out of tangled ribbons, is presumed to be taller than the Statue of Liberty and would overwhelm every other iconic London landmark. The massive sculpture has turned into a Tower of Babel for newspaper editorialists, who have questioned of its environmental efficacy, its beauty, and perhaps most damningly, its perceived lack of meaning. In Kapoor’s defense, he once famously jibed, “As an artist I have really nothing to say. Otherwise I would have become a journalist.” Rather, he would say substance, in part, is resident in the viewer and the circle is completed by the viewer’s unconscious act of looking. “Here is an incomplete circle, which says, ‘Come and be involved,’” he exults. “And without your involvement as a viewer, there is no story. I believe that that’s a complete kind of re-invention of the idea of art.” At the greatest arena for public sports, with its myriad evocations of human triumph and humiliation, this will be Kapoor’s ultimate conceit: to create a public sculpture that challenges the casual spectator to a deeper contemplation of the self. He may well steal the show. THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE, TOP LEFT: SITE-SPECIFIC WORK AT THE FARM, KAIPARA BAY, NEW ZEALAND. OPPOSITE, LOWER LEFT: ANISH KAPOOR AT THE CONSTRUCTION SITE OF TEMENOS. OPPOSITE, LOWER RIGHT: MEMORY, 2008 55

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