Anish Kapoor’s latest exhibition invites the sublime to the Palace of Versailles
Anish Kapoor continues his exploration of the sublime by inviting controversy and hedonism to the Palace of Versailles. The former residents of Sun King Louis XIV and Queen Marie Antoinette were known for their liberal hedonism and through six works scattered throughout the colossal and obsessively tended gardens of André Le Nôtre and the neighboring Jeu de Paume Hall, Kapoor reveals what is hidden in the centuries of the castle. – old shadows.
“The gardens of Versailles are like a blanket where nature is seen as a perfect sublime object – well it’s not,” the British-Indian artist told Wallpaper*. “It’s a question of politics and power. Louis XIV was very controversial and sexual. And I’m interested in this dialogue, in the juxtaposition.
Kapoor explores power and the sublime by discovering, by digging into, what is hidden. The pieces form a narrative playing with light in works like “C-Curve” and “Sky Mirror,” and darkness in “Sectional Body Preparing for Monastic Singularity” and “Dirty Corner,” descent like “ Shooting into the Corner’ and ‘Descent’. The artist explains: “I hope that the story sometimes makes the viewers uncomfortable. But the commentary doesn’t interest me – I don’t try to say what things mean… The dialogue between the work and the place must remain speculative and poetic. It’s about how you relate to it.
Causing national controversy in a country that reveres Gustave Courbet’s explicit painting “The Origin of the World”, it’s “Dirty Corner”. Dubbed “the queen’s vagina,” Kapoor is most excited about this piece and claims her sexuality is a “non-topic” that cuts short the rest of the dialogue. The 10-meter-tall sculpture that looks like a giant rusty foxglove, with its very phallic stem, Kapoor says, “looks like it was dug up, discovered by chance, and it’s as if it’s older than Ours, like a kind of Mother Goddess”. !’
On a thoughtful note, Kapoor concludes that “Throughout I’m mostly interested in contradiction, the idea that what you see isn’t quite what you think you see”.