Anish Kapoor: Memory

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Artist Anish Kapoor. Photo: Ji-youn Lee, 2003

Artist Anish Kapoor. Photo: Ji-youn Lee, 2003

Anish Kapoor: Memory

November 30, 2008–February 1, 2009
As part of its founding mission, the Deutsche Guggenheim established a program of commissions by prominent and innovative contemporary artists in 1998. Created specifically for its exhibition spaces, this series has become an important part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s program in contemporary art. Anish Kapoor’s sculptural installation titled Memory is the fourteenth commission project to be completed since the inception of the program. Joining an esteemed and diverse selection of artists including John Baldessari, Hanne Darboven, William Kentridge, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, and Phoebe Washburn, amongst others, Kapoor presents us with a remarkable new site-specific work that transforms the gallery spaces through shifts in scale—physical scale, mental scale, and architectural scale.
Anish Kapoor rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his investigation into notions of scale, volume, color, and materiality, and has redefined contemporary sculpture. Best known for his explorations into the concept of the void, his sculptures, installations, and public art test the phenomenology of space, and have historically been characterized by intensely tactile or reflective materials, including colored pigments, wax, fiberglass, stone, polished stainless steel, and PVC that resist any narrative or aesthetic reading. He was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize in 1991 and became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2003.

For the Deutsche Guggenheim, Kapoor has created an ambitious sculptural installation utilizing Cor-Ten steel, a new experiment for the artist. Memory offers a new kind of space in the galleries, as its total shape can never be experienced at once. Kapoor invites viewers to experience the sculpture in fragments, leaving us to reconstruct the whole work through the twin processes of negotiation and peregrination. Memory thus becomes a tool to try and overcome the inaccessibility presented by the constrictions of the sculpture within the galleries. Technically adept, formally daring, and conceptually profound, this commission draws upon Kapoor’s earlier successes such as Taratantara, Marsyas, and Cloud Gate, but presents us with yet another proposition—can an artist create a work of art whose diagram is never complete?

Today, Anish Kapoor is indisputably one of the most celebrated artists of our time. Having never previously exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, this commission has forged a new relationship with the artist—one that we wish to develop over future collaborations. We hope to travel Memory to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2009, in order to extend the opportunity to share this remarkable commission with an extended audience. Kapoor’s genius lies in his ability to create a site-specific work that engages with two very different exhibition scenarios.

Organized by Sandhini Poddar, Assistant Curator of Asian Art

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