While we might associate Anish Kapoor’s sculpture with ultra-contemporary urban spaces, for example, his ArcelorMittar Orbit which is climbing ever higher above the Olympic Park in Stratford , visitors to Waddesdon Manor can see his work in an entirely different context. Mountain, a work in aluminium from 2001, is currently on display in Waddesdon’s Aviary, surrounded by rococo-style garden sculpture and bird song emanating from the chinoiserie cages.
In comparison with the flamboyant carpet bedding and architecture of the aviary, Mountain makes a subtle intervention into this historic landscape. The sculpture is cleverly placed beneath the aviary roof, which tightly encloses it and casts lace-like shadows across its skin. This intimate interaction between sculpture and architecture is unusual in Kapoor’s works, which are usually so dramatic that they need space and time in order to resonate. His sculptures can be characterised as glossy and high-impact works, often with incorporating movement and theatrical effects, as characterised by the dramatic use of red wax in his retrospective at the Royal Academy last year or the ‘Bean’ in Chicago. In contrast the gentle slopes of Mountain, constructed from 120 of jet-cut matt aluminium layers seem to emphasize the careful and thoughtful observation and accumulation of information and surface. The water-washed sides of Mountain allude to the natural process of erosion and bely the high-tech processes behind its making.
Mountain will be on display at Waddesdon Manor until October. Also on display in the Coach House are Andy Warhol’s Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century.
Photos: Author’s own.