Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anish Kapoor: Better on a second look

The official opening of Anish Kapoor's show at Mehboob Studio last evening drew a large crowd, and that livened up the work considerably. Kapoor's mirror sculptures rely on what is around them. In a massive, mostly vacant room, their effect is muted. When the space fills up, the sculptures teem with interesting reflections.
Performative pieces like Shooting Into a Corner also gain from having a substantial audience; the oohs and aahs as the cannon goes off help create a sense of community among those present.
The wood chips that so distracted me on my first visit have thankfully been removed from under the S-shaped wall, and replaced with discreet stacks of slate-grey squares.
Finally, I think I appreciated the show more this time round because I hankered less for what was absent. I knew what I was going to see -- and what I was not going to see -- when I walked in, and calibrated my expectations accordingly. I'm happy therefore, that I wrote that downbeat first-look piece: those who read it went into the show with relatively low expectations and generally came away happy.
The air conditioning was working perfectly last evening, which also helped. As did the champagne, lobster and shami kababs available in the garden.


nishad said...

Hi Girish, I definitely caliberated my expectations for last night's opening after reading your first post, and was happy not to be underwhelmed! Though, now I want to see the pieces sans the crowd...


Girish Shahane said...

I do too, Nishad; I hope the reservation system they have set up works well. Pre-booking is a new idea for Indian art viewers, specially for a show that is free.

Jasmine Shah Varma said...

No big deal about pre-booking. Interesting idea as it is a first in Mumbai. Great way to collect data I guess. Went there with registration today. But save paper printouts. You might as well go there and register on the spot. They've wasted enuff paper printing those forms already. Also leave your cell phone at home or lie that your phone has a camera in it. Baggage counter guy summoned me and friend as we entered premises and insisted that we leave our small handbags and cell phone (in my case a blackberry) at the baggage counter! When I said I could not be carrying cash, keys and valuables in my hands, he said leave the cell phone at the counter and go in with the bag! Idiocy! I did no such thing of course and walked in with bag and cell. How ridiculous was he being! A sign there also mentioned how they are not responsible for theft of valuables. Dude! And the baggage counter guy was being really silly considering the number of people manning the works outnumbered the visitors when I went. There was no way I could have "stolen a moment to take a pic".

DS said...

But there was no Kangana Ranaut!

I am waiting to see how this online booking works re bringing in numbers for this show. Surely it's a deterrent to all the walk ins that would come.

The space is just stunning. I wish we could have seen a giant inflatable like what he is contemplating at the Grand Palais.

And just feel the need for one large pigment/void work. For initiates into his work would have been more encompassing of his oevre. Still, I hope many see the show, does not happen often a show like this.

Girish Shahane said...

DS, there were two preview, a desultory one on the 25th and a much livelier one on the 29th.
Between the two, they made improvements like getting the air conditioning functioning properly and, very important, replacing the tacky plywood chips under the S-shaped wall with neat grey squares.
Kangana Ranaut, Malaika Arora and Karishma Kapoor attended the first preview, at the invitation of Louis Vuitton. They were entirely uninterested in the art (perhaps because the mirrors didn't show them in the best light), and were there to be seen rather than to see.
Louis Vuitton had a paid-for picture on page 1 of the Bombay Times yesterday, with Ranaut and Karishma Kapoor in LV outfits in the company of Anish Kapoor and the head of LVMH. Here's the pic: http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIM/2010/11/30&PageLabel=27&EntityId=Pc02706&ViewMode=HTML&GZ=T

manish nai said...

correct one Girish :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Girish, quickly to say that the show was not fully installed for the 25th: hence the tacky plywood chips. The Grand Opening was, after all, on the 29th and not the 25th. As for photography and phones, what Jasmine hasn't registered fully, or perhaps at all, is that Mehboob Studios is a fully operational film studio - a place where photographing Anish or Anil Kapoor is unwelcome. So if they ask that you leave your mobile phones and cameras behind, please remember (and respect) that this is not a conventional viewing space but an offsite with its own rules.

Girish Shahane said...

Right, I realised only on the 29th that the show wasn't installed fully on opening day. I sort of suspected that Kapoor and you (I think I know who this is) would never allow that as a finished display. It really ruined one of the centrepieces of the show during the first preview and I posted about it the same evening or the next morning.
I hope the second post clarifies my response: it's the only post that speaks about the show as people now are seeing it.
I must say, I don't buy the excuse about the extra precautions being required because it's a film studio. People wander into film studios with mobile phones all the time, the industry wouldn't be able to function otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Take your point about mobile phones. I believe they are allowed, but cameras and unwieldy bags are not (this, I insist, is fair and reasonable). Keep in mind that this is the first major public event that Mehboob Studios has had in a very long time -- thus the stringent vigilance.

Yes people in the industry wander into film studios but a wider public audience ordinarily does not. Kapoor's show saw 800 visitors on Sunday. Now imagine if one crazy Shah Rukh fan were to dart across to Stage 2 and create mayhem? Does it really seem that implausible in Bombay?

Yes you do know who this is :)