Sunday, May 10, 2009

The C Curve and Chattri - Anish Kapoor on the Downs

Above the Chattri is the C Curve, part of the trail of Anish Kapoor sculptures that have taken Brighton Festival to an extraordinary level. I was there this afternoon with hundreds of other people, horses, dogs and sheep.

There were conversations about the Downs, engineering, physics, sculpture, and screams of excitement from kids. Kites appeared and disappeared. Figures were stretched and shrunk. The path up from the road was crowded and even later in the afternoon there were still carloads parking in the narrow lane. Some visitors were very familiar with Kapoor's work elsewhere, some had just heard about this mirror on the hill. A very angry man argued that it wasn't sculpture if it couldn't be touched.

It is strange to see so many people making this journey, sitting around a mirror, walking around it and marvelling at how stunning it makes our landscape - reflecting it all back to us on a massive screen - and how bizarre it makes us seem, on the other side, with our heads where our feet should be. And I wonder if Kapoor's 'don't touch' policy, by making us stand back, is gently suggesting that we need to contemplate as much as we need to feel.

It reminds me of a quote I have on my wall, borrowed from a fellow poet who was teaching's by Chuang Tzu: "The hearing that is in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another. The whole being must listen."

There are some amazing thoughts on Kapoor's work in Brighton here:

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