14 December 2010

Anish Kapoor: Turning the world upside down

Kapoor1Almost a year ago I discovered an art installation consisting of clutches of reflective spheres in the courtyard of Burlington House on Piccadilly.  This turned out to be a piece called Tall Tree and the Eye by Anish Kapoor.  Fast forward to the present; I was wandering through Hyde Park at the weekend when I noticed a sign mentioning a series of installations by Kapoor dotted around Kensington Gardens, collectively known as Turning the World Upside Down.  It wasn’t great photography weather, but the artworks were appealing and one in particular was built on an impressive scale.  Here’s a few pictures with a map at the end (which was on a park sign that was a bit muddy, hence the splotches).

Sky Mirror [2006]

Emerging from Lancaster Gate tube station, enter the park and pass to the right of the Italian Gardens with its four shallow pools, each conveniently sporting a wooden ramp so ducks can extract themselves from the water when the levels are low.  Pass the Peter Pan statue on your right and walk alongside the Longwater for a few minutes, and then you’ll come across this:

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The huge reflective disc is slightly concave from this side, and is tilted back on an angle like a giant incongruous satellite dish.  I’ll have to go back on a day with a nice blue sky!

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Walking around to the other side of the lake allows a closer look at the disc and gives a better idea of the scale – its diameter is over 10 metres.  There must be a whole lot of concrete holding that up.

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Non-Object (Spire) [2007]

The next installation was a short walk to the west, at a junction of walking paths near a well-known equestrian statue known as ‘Physical Energy’.  The three metre tall spire was my favourite Kapoor installation, despite having to listen to a self-confident American dad explaining to his family in a loud voice that this one was the least impressive of the four – he said it three times!  It hints at complicated mathematical formulae, and I loved the unpredictable reflections of the trees.  In practical terms, as the smallest of the four installations it was the easiest to photograph without other people getting in the shot. 

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SONY DSCI was particularly interested in the spire’s own reflection near the base, which resembled a vortex in a glass of water when you stir it vigorously.  Here’s a treated close-up, which gives an idea of its slightly alien otherworldliness.

 

C-Curve [2007]

A short distance to the south, the eye-bending C-Curve is a distorting circus mirror on a grand scale.  The exterior of the 7.7 metre curve displays an expanded panorama, while on the inside the view is compressed and inverted.

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Sky Mirror, Red [2007]

Perched in the shallow Round Pond near Kensington Palace like a goose’s umbrella, the slightly concave 2.9 metre red mirror has the advantage of the most scenic backdrop.  It’s not clear from the photos but the pond water further out from the edge is frozen; I saw one family deploying a rescue ring to try to recover their dog’s tennis ball that had bounced out onto the ice.  

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Map:

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