There is an arrogance to this particular brand of political art that chooses to point out the obvious rather than inspire change. Perhaps instead of endlessly trying to capture the Void it’s time to create work that fills itby Elise Bell / April 4, 2019 / Leave a comment
Mention Anish Kapoor and it won’t take long before theories of The Void come up in conversation. Anish Kapoor loves the void. He revels in it. Collectively, over a career spanning three decades, Kapoor has tasked the viewing public to look into the unforgiving eye of a whirlpool in his 2017 piece Descension and into the empty void of Descent into Chaos— a work that threatens to engulf its onlookers into a never-ending black hole of Vantablack™, a colour he trademarked in 2017.
It seems that he can’t get enough of it. As such, he has now directed his quest for emptiness towards the darkest void of all: Brexit.
Yet Kapoor’s latest work seems to have united the normally fractious art world on a subject entirely different to that of the impending doom of a No Deal. “[A] Frightening Rift tearing the UK apart—or gateway into another land?” made for an interesting choice of words from Guardian critic Jonathan Jones, considering the “rift” in question looked gapingly and obviously like something else entirely.
this sex which is not one https://t.co/M1DrtOWieQ
— Katherine Angel (@KayEngels) April 3, 2019
Named Brexit, Broxit, We all fall Down and created specifically for the Guardian, Kapoor’s latest attempt at political activism sees a map of the UK split down the middle; counties, cities and green pastures roll into a bleeding chasm, pulling anything and everything into its orbit.
Acting as a tight-fisted metaphor for the violent divisions caused in the aftermath of the UK’s referendum vote, the piece has instead drawn laughter from primarily women on social media, who have made comparisons to sanitary towels, and poses the question whether Kapoor can differentiate between a harrowing apocalyptic gorge and female anatomy. (In the words of critic and curator Audrey Wollen: “Beware Male artists making artwork about emptiness, / nothing does not belong to you, / girls own the Void, / back off fuckers.”)
WHOA BODYFORM https://t.co/7DI4IJYxJ9
— Laura Waddell (@lauraewaddell) April 3, 2019
Much like the politics of female sexuality, “the Void” in art has invited much-convoluted hyperbole, stretching from Yves Klein’s 1960 photograph Leap Into the Void to Thomas Heatherwick’s honeycomb-like architectural object Vessel.
Launched last week at New York’s Hudson Yard, the literal empty vessel has been described as almost anything but an empty vessel, with critics instead choosing to reference Escher’s impossible stairways and a need for uniting people together…