Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Anish Kapoor in Brighton

I left the Dismemberment of Jeanne d'Arc yesterday feeling emptied. So empty, in fact, that I found it hard to put words together. I wanted to lie on the grass somewhere and stare at the sky. In fact, I was doing a workshop with Jane. The installation by Anish Kapoor is in the old fruit and vegetable market off Grand Parade, a cavernous, netted space with speed limits on the walls and nets against the pigeons for a ceiling. Two vast piles of excavated waste sit at one end, two pitted trunks are splayed at the other. At the centre is a vast red hole.

I couldn't wander around it on my first visit because of preparations for a performance, so visiting yesterday was my first proper experience of it.

The space is a gift for an artist but Kapoor's used it well. I was delighted to be disorientated, to feel my mind had been wrung out and a little more space created, maybe, for other things. When I started looking at his work I was resistant, snagged up in the Rushdie words around Blood Relations, perplexed by the title of 1000 names (but that was my own cultural ignorance, I now realise). The Rushdie words are too loaded with everything else that is attached to a successful male novelist.

I was held up, too, by fame.

Working through all these issues was like cutting back the hedge of brambles on my allotment each year. There was a promise of something sustaining.

And yesterday, sitting in Pavilion gardens after the workshop with Jane and her partner David, we talked about the buzz that's come with these pieces placed around Brighton and about the discussion Kapoor's role has generated. This morning, though, I realised that there was something else that had worked on me yesterday and it's indefineable other than through comparing experience. It is starting to feel like my annual week at Doris (sadly not happening this year) when I set aside words and reconnect with movement and contemplation.

That's why the Doris hand is waving.

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