It was a brilliantly cold December day and we heading for the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens when when we happened on this marvellous magic mirror. We were already in fantasy-mode too. We had just been questing in Kensington’s Enchanted Palace exhibition, wherein the State Apartments had been filled with mysterious installations that told serial tales of seven princesses who had once lived in Kensington Palace. Many of the stories were hauntingly sad, and the last of these, Princess Diana’s, very much skated over. And so, despite the grandeur of the place, and the wonder of the installations, we were left with disturbing cobwebby feelings that made me think of finding wicked fairies in the attic. It was good to step out into the icy air and regain some sense of reality.
But then look what happened…?
Wandering through the wintery park, we collided with this piece of optical wizardry – sculptor Anish Kapoor’s C-Curve – a highly polished steel convex-concave mirror. It turned out to be one of four magnificent pieces making up the six-month 2010-11 exhibition put on by the Serpentine Gallery in conjunction with the Royal Parks. Sadly, the exhibition is over, but you can have a retrospective view and see a short video at this link:
But the great thing about the C-Curve was the huge enjoyment it was giving to all the passers-by. Public art at its very best. You could walk right up to it. You could watch yourself do silly walks and upside-down too. You could hug your partner and grin inanely at your reflections. It made you, the viewer, the subject of the work. It inspired you to explore the landscape with fresh eyes as reality became a multi-layered spectacle and wonder. It was thus a resplendent antidote to palace fantasies and wicked fairies in the attic. What an artist is Anish Kapoor.
And finally for a different interpretation of OBJECT. Here is Anish Kapoor and friends in the official Amnesty International’s video objecting to human rights abuses. Gangnam for Freedom. Go for it…