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A cave of obscurity in the city of lights
Only one object, only one form, only one colour, otherwise the Leviathan by Anish Kapoor designed for Monumenta to capture the French capital, where the Indo-British artist returns 30 years after his first exhibition...


Published on Thursday, June 9th, 2011
reaches its fourth edition, after having invited artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Richard Serra and Christian Boltanski; it hosts Anish Kapoor (Bombay, 1954), thus continuing to be a vital contemporary art event, which welcomed an average of 150 000 visitors in just over a month. Anish Kapoor, sculptor and architect, has created a PVC work that makes full use of the light of the Grand Palaisí Nef: The Leviathan which, in a dynamic equilibrium, itís opposed to the Grand Palais light with its obscurity. The immense sculpted figure has an archaic and powerful body characterized by great force, likened to mythological creatures such as the sea monster or the devil. Vulnerable in front of the vast space, it is as if The Leviathan invites the visitor to become incarnate in its womb. Perhaps also in order to play the legend of Jonah swallowed by a fish as rebel or that of Plato's cave freed from the shackles of ignorance. Inside its body the physical memory beseeches the visitor; surrounded by red colour and the texture of the material refers to the structure of the skin, a place of sensations and revelations, thus a profound dialogue with the work is consequently established.


The interior, which incorporates the geometric proportions of the Venus of Willendorf (Vienna, Museum of Natural History), a Palaeolithic statuette sized 11 cm, shows a central area accessible to the public and surrounded by three huge hollow spheres that allow the infiltration of sunlight, which in turn is externally a part of the three avenues of Nef. These three empty spaces, a recurring theme in the works of Kapoor, evoke the idea of a space within a space, a concavity that transforms the work into a lens enabling to see further, and stimulates the depiction that embodies a concept, it being desire or other amenities since, as claimed by Kapoor himself " there is never a pure and innocent look. " The exterior of the Leviathan is well divided in the majestic volumes and a height of 35 meters that make up the hosting structure, appearing to be locked up like a glass cage. This idea gives an almost futuristic vision to the work. The Leviathan transforms the idea of perception and imposes itself in a space that reveals its philosophical entity because that's where a significant moment takes place. Here the visitor is looking for another space within which the non-object, has lost its status as a subject because of feelings of alienation that were aroused. In this complexity of relationships, where the spiritual accords with the monumental, the body with the sculpture and the flow, Kapoorís intent is achieved.

Leviathan 2

The objective is namely to create the non-form because "artists do not make objects but, rather, they construct mythologies and through these we read their objects, "says the artist. Kapoor is parallelly present in the French capital at the Academy of Fine Arts with Cement Works and in the gallery of Kamel Mennour with Almost Nothing. Cement Works has been designed with the help of software and a machine that ejects and deposits the material, referring to the artistís concept of self- work while Almost Nothing presents several creations around the idea of emptiness and immateriality.

curated by livia de leoni

From May 11th to June 23rd 2011
Anish Kapoor, Leviathan
Grand Palais
1 Avenue Géneral Eisenhower
75008 Paris, France
Mondays through Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tel : + 33(0)1 44 13 17 17


Reserved Reproduction