On Saturday I finally got around to visiting the Anish Kapoor exhibition “Flashback” showing at Manchester City Art Gallery, which finishes on Sunday 5th June. I’m glad I made the effort – it was excellent.
Although he’s a major artist, I don’t know too much about Kapoor, so this was another step on my journey of discovery of sculpture which started a couple of years ago with my first visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
One of the standout works for me was “When I am pregnant” (1997). It was, essentially, a bump built into the wall using a fibreglass form. The gallery wall had been adapted so that the bump merged seamlessly into it. The work must have to be re-created every time it is transferred from one exhibition to another. It can’t simply be picked up and moved. I guess this raises some interesting questions about whether its the same piece or a new one.
From the side, the bump was clearly visible, but when viewed head on it was difficult to make out due to the way it projected from the wall, its colour (identical to that of the wall) and the diffuse lighting employed in the gallery so that there were no distinct shadows. It was a disconcerting effect making it seem as if my eyes were out of focus. Form was only provided by the colour of the floor reflecting on the underside of the bump. Without this it would have been almost visible from the front. A clever use of optical effects.