One of the dominant impressions given by the sculpture of Anish Kapoor is of haunting. In and around the definite presences, the manifest shining, brightly coloured forms, lie a series of baffling absences; the shades of presences that are in excess of the work, or the shadows of meanings not yet grasped. Perhaps this is most evident in the work that announces its haunting in its title, the spectral sculpture Ghost (1997), in which a sliver of light, caught dancing in the polished interior of a rugged block of Kilkenny limestone, becomes not only the `presence‘ that occupies the work but also a symbol of all that it is unable to embody and leaves hovering about its fringes and borders. This Ghost is Kapoor‘s haunted house sculpture; a sculpture in which the mysterious agency that unnerves the viewer is both the most significant occupant of its limestone mansion and, paradoxically, its most insignificant, or unsignifiable omission.
According to the author, queer as an identification and subjectivity is important to his writing of transnational South Asian art histories. This book talks about new transnational South Asian art histories, to make visible histories of artworks that remain marginalised within the discipline of art history. This is done through a deliberate 'productive failure', by not upholding the strictly genealogical approach. The book discusses authorship by examining the writing about the work of Anish Kapoor to explore the shifting manner in which critics and art historians have identified him and his work. It focuses on the author's own identification as queer and South Asian American to put pressure on the coherency of an LGBTQI art history. It connects formal similarities of abstract work produced in the 1960s in New York City by Cy Twombly and Natvar Bhavsar. The book deals with an art history that concerns facile categories such as South Asian/non-South Asian and black/white, and discusses the works of Stephen Dean, Mario Pfeifer, Adrian Margaret Smith Piper, and Kehinde Wiley. It focuses on practice-led research by discussing 'Sphere:dreamz,; which was produced by queer-identified South Asian women. Continuing the focus, the book looks at the multi-site exhibition 'Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street', organised by the author in 2007. It addresses the question of how certain subjects are considered as 'belonging' and others as not; and the role of art in the reconstitution of notions of 'home' and transnational South Asian art histories.
Authorship: AnishKapoor as
I’m Indian. My sensibility is Indian. And I welcome that, rejoice in that, but
the great battle nowadays is to occupy an aesthetic territory that isn’t linked to
Being an artist is more than being an Indian artist. I feel supportive to that
kind of endeavour … it needs to happen once; I hope it is never necessary
Both the statements above are by India-born, England-based artist AnishKapoor. The first was made during the opening ceremony of his first solo
Towards creolizing transnational South Asian art histories
Alpesh Kantilal Patel
‘globalisation’. Per Glissant’s logic, while these histories are multiple they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Following his logic, strands of the multiple often
intertwine and overlap and thereby cohere collectively around – but never
quite approximate – the ‘One’, in this case a singular transnational South Asian
Summaries of case studies
Chapter 2 explores authorship. In particular, I examine the writing about the
work of AnishKapoor, one of the most critically and commercially successful
artists of Asian descent in the West. Kapoor’s career has
AnishKapoor, 1000 Names, 1979–80. Wood, gesso and pigment, dimensions variable.
Cy Twombly, Ferragosto II, 1961. Oil, oil crayon and pencil on canvas, 64¾ × 78⅞ in.
(164.5 × 200.3 cm).
Natvar Bhavsar, VAATRI, 1969. Pigment, oil and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 192 in.
Natvar Bhavsar, THEER-A-THEER-A, 1969. Pure pigment, oil and acrylic on canvas,
81.5 × 360 in.
Stephen Dean, Stills from Pulse, 2001. Video installation, sound, 7:20 min.
Mario Pfeifer, A Formal Film in Nine Episodes, Prologue & Epilogue, 2010. 35 mm film
transferred to HD
made an integral part of
the way it is practised. The problem here is that the conspicuous and explicit
references to Indian culture in the work of Bharti Kher, Rina Banerjee,
Ravinder Reddy, for example, and, to some extent, AnishKapoor, may lead to
a kind of self-anthropologisation. Without the necessary self-critique, artists
might activate what Foster calls the realist assumption that ‘the other’ (in this
case the postcolonial artist her/himself) is somehow in reality. This danger
lurks particularly in Western and other foreign contexts where the artists
differently, more carefully, but ultimately it rendered the work as still intact. Or, conversely, the work of art
was damaged beyond repair. It ended up in a skip somewhere, like so many
other works before: AnishKapoor’s Hole And Vessel II, a bulky red polystyrene and cement sculpture that is believed to have been dumped with
rubbish by mistake during renovations to a building where it was stored,7
or the untitled lacquer and Plexiglas wall relief by Craig Kauffman that
appears to have simply fallen from the wall at the Pompidou and shattered,
or likewise Peter Alexander
against China’s much criticised so-called inauthentic ‘copycat’ culture (though
there has been at least one article written about the centrality of copying in
Chinese culture), but that is not my intention.6 The matter is an extremely
sensitive one, especially in light of the recent scandals regarding the unauthorised Chinese copies of iconic contemporary British art, that is, Wendy Taylor’s
Reproducibility and neoliberal aesthetics
Timepiece (1973) and AnishKapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago (2004).7 Certainly
it must be acknowledged that the issues are
curator who relocated from Beijing to Paris in
1990. The 2000 Shanghai Biennial also included for the first time non-Chinese
figures, including well-known artists Anselm Kiefer, Matthew Barney, and
AnishKapoor and architect Tadao Ando, and it prompted many Western
European and North American art professionals to travel to mainland China
for the first time.
While the artworks included in the prior two biennials were mostly all
either traditional Chinese ink paintings or oil paintings influenced by socialist realism or impressionist and post-impressionist styles, the
skills in order to realize the artwork.
Jen Harvie examines the participation of technicians, architects,
engineers, craftspeople and manual workers or hired extras in the
creation of complex installations; for instance, the commissioning
of thousands of artisans by Ai Weiwei in China to produce more
than one million hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds, or AnishKapoor’s close collaboration with engineers and architects to realize
the large-scale installation Marsyas (Harvie, 2013, pp. 33–35). Harvie
argues that when assessed on the grounds of labour, these