PARIS.- Anish Kapoor is the latest contemporary artist to be invited to exhibit in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, throughout the summer of 2015. While Lee Ufan in 2014 entered into dialogue with the famous architect of the gardens, André Le Nôtre, Kapoor brings a more political perspective on power and its depiction to Versailles, as the palace celebrates the tercentenary of Louis XIV’s death.
Kapoor’s works intervene in the precise and manicured gardens designed by Le Nôtre, excavating red gashes and piles of rocks and leading visitors to a giant whirlpool (Descension, 2015), a violently swirling and yet perfectly geometrical vortex. He has further disrupted the sloping vistas of Versailles with a colossal flaring tunnel, entitled Dirty Corner (2011-15), made from Corten steel. Among the other works on the terraces are the reflective C-Curve (2007) that turns the world upside down and a raised, tilted Sky Mirror (2013), bringing the sun itself down into the landscape of Versailles.
Kapoor is the first invited artist to stage a monumental work in the nearby Jeu de Paume, the scene of the famous Tennis Court Oath of 1789 that proved pivotal in the early days of the French Revolution and of democracy itself. Here Kapoor has installed his wax-firing weapon, Shooting into the Corner (2008-09), as a symbol of “undeclared war” as he describes it in conversation with Julia Kristeva: “The gun and the corner are two unavoidable sides of the same equation. They need each other. Like the state and the citizen or the lover and the beloved… Painting is a witness. Painting is the evidence left over after carnage.”
"For Anish Kapoor, a work of art doesn’t exist alone but through its viewer. The visitor at Versailles will witness the dualities of artist’s work: heaven and earth, visible and invisible, inside and outside, shadow and light… This universe can be read through experience and imagination. The originality of this exhibition, what makes it unique, even to those who have long been familiar with Kapoor’s work around the world, is that in Versailles his vision meets an imagination set in stone by history. The very controlled landscape of Versailles is drawn into instability. The grounds become uncertain and moving. Waters swirl. Romantic ruins take hold of the Tapis Vert. Exposed interior orifices are hidden within the garden’s labyrinths. The mirrors that are so central to Versailles now distort it. This world is perhaps about to tip over. It is not by chance that Anish Kapoor was the first to push open the door to the Jeu de Paume, which he considers as a work of art in itself, to exhibit his installation.
Anish Kapoor draws us into a hidden history, within the boundaries of Versailles. " ---Catherine Pégard, President of the Palace of Versailles