I've been aware of Anish Kapoor for a long time now, in fact I'm pretty certain I first discovered what he was about back during my AS Level Art studies, but this was the first time I was to witness his work in person. If I am completely honest, I wasn't sure what to expect. This was probably due to my rather limited knowledge of what he does, but on entering the exhibition I was very pleasantly surprised.
Kapoor's 'Flashback' exhibition is currently being held at Manchester Art Gallery by the Arts Council Collection, and comprised of sculptures from different stages of his career. The pieces ranged from early sculptures made using pigment, to later works employing stone and mirrored surfaces, to works that engage directly with the surrounding architecture. It was this last element that I think impressed me most, particularly his piece "When I am Pregnant" (1992). From afar, it seemed as though the wall at the far end of the gallery space had some sort of eerie shadowy shape projected onto it, but as you came closer you realised that it in fact formed a rather large and protrusive bump extending from the wall's surface. It was very surreal but fascinating, and really played tricks on your perceptions of the room and its dimensions.
The whole space had a strange sense of calm, I found myself staring into the works and becoming almost lost in what I was viewing. I was also really taken in by another of his works, titled "Her Blood" (1998). These 3 curved mirrored plates distorted the reflected images that varied depending on how close you stood to them, rather like a more beautiful and dynamic hall of mirrors. I spent a lot of time trying to discover the surface of the plates; one of them was stained red, but it was really difficult to see how they had been created. I liked this fact though, it all added to the mystery of the experience.
I left the gallery feeling quite overwhelmed - in a good way. It was a really beautiful collection of work, and a very relaxing experience.