Anish Kapoor at Houghton Hall, review: "magnificent and monumental"
17 July 2020
"Anish Kapoor’s long-awaited exhibition at Houghton Hall raises questions about our desire to tame and improve the work of nature", says Hettie Judah in her review of the exhibition in i News, the sister paper of The Independent.
Optical effects, voids and volumes: this is prime Kapoor territory. He’s interested in depth, framing, the illusion of weightlessness, reflection and light absorption, the shape of the inside of things. In a corridor hung with working sketches on sheets of plywood, we can see episodes of technical precision, freehand experiments with loops and curves, and tunnel forms that chart the invisible interior of his sculptures....
This is a smart match of artist and site. Not only does Kapoor’s work step up to the monumental scale of Houghton, but it also engages with the history and the landscape of the building and its grounds.
On the one hand, there is a shared sense of playfulness: a delight in optical effects, framing and reflecting. On the other, Kapoor raises darker questions about the urge to tame the landscape, to frame and improve on the work of nature – and beyond that to dominate the human body, to control its tongue and its hand – that comes so tightly bound with all this magnificence.