25 October 2010

Anish Kapoor

A few Sundays ago David and I braved a drizzly grey day and a pair of horrific hangovers to see the four new Anish Kapoor sculptures in Kensington Gardens.

This is the first:

This was definitely the most interactive of them all (you can see me and David in the middle-ish with umbrellas and unecessary sunglasses), but I found myself getting rather annoyed at a snooty middle-class mother who was trying to appear provocative and arty, but just came across as really tedious. She was with her two children who were enjoying themselves trying to make their reflections upside down and so forth and she spewed something along the line of "now, how does this compare with what we saw yesterday?" after no response (because they were having too much fun) she answered for them: "well, that was very much an exhibition of found artworks, and these are commissioned works that allow you to find yourselves." Silly cow, I'm all for trying to engage children with art, but rather than being provocative, she was being pompous- and interfereing with their experience; they had managed to engage physically with the artwork very well without her prompting them to be "deep". She should have just let them enjoy it and then afterwards on the journey home, asked more of a leading question such as "so, what did you think about it?" or the much underrated: "did you like it?"

This was my least favourite of them, once again I got rather annoyed that the experience was being interfered with. They had guards at this one to stop you from getting too close, which is fine, though a rope would have done. And the guards would come up to you and tell you to view it from a distance so that you could see the peak reflected in the bottom, which was very interesting but I prefer to discover these things for myself. One of them kept saying "people think the point is to try and see your own reflection but it's actually to try and see the reflection of the peak"- FINE, but let people discover it for themselves- if they want to see their faces bloody let them.

Well, luckily the next two you were allowed to interpret in your own way. This red one, from a distance, looked quite ugly, but it quickly became the boldest and most powerful for me. (Possibly helped by the appearance of a swan).

This was the final one, and this was as close as you could get. I'd love to go back and see it on a clearer day, or at least on a day when the sky is a bit more interesting.

It was a nice day out, and definitely worth a look- I just don't get that public art can be policed. Not only physically, but also having your experience interfered with and being told how to approach it. I found it very annoying. David found it funny how annoyed I was- pretty much the story of my life.


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