31 July, 2021

Art Without Heart

Gigantism bereft of the artist’s touch marks Kapoor’s creations

Art Without Heart

Walking away from British artist Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, I shivered in the bright sunshine, chilled by what I’d just seen.

The display of small models in the Old Wing had been unnerving enough, but the full-sized work, in the beautiful new exhibition hall of the New Wing was, for me, actually frightening. I had to force myself to go in through the glass doors and stay long enough to look at everything. Before this I’d only once seen a piece by Kapoor in real life. It was a bit like staring into a large red French horn. I remember a pleasurable sense of vertigo, wondering how it was possible to puncture the floor to create this illusion of a profound, exquisite void.

Since that time, however, whenever I’ve seen pictures of Kapoor’s work, I’ve only wanted to avert my face. The pieces at the NGMA are small by the standards of the immensely successful sculptor’s recent constructions. In the film shown as a continuous loop in the auditorium,...

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