Sculptor Anish Kapoor tells us about how he realised he too had a voice.
We give him the Padma Bhushan, Britain honours him with a knighthood. Even as India and Britain continue to claim the iconic sculptor Anish Kapoor as their own, the Turner-prize winning artist goes on creating some of the most powerful public sculptures, carrying out great experiments with form and scale.
In between his panel discussion at the NDTV Solutions Summit and the channel’s 25 Greatest Global Indian Legends awards function held recently in the city — he was one of the recipients — the artist squeezed in a quick chat with us about his relationship with India, Article 377 and Ark Nova.
You had your first exhibition in India at the National Gallery of Modern Art in 2010. Did it mark the beginning of an engaged relationship with the country?
I have always had an engaged relationship with India. It (the exhibition) was very, very expensive. It was difficult to do, so we did this one with the help of the British Council. It wasn’t in a way something we had to pay for, British Council had to pay to bring it to India. It wasn’t just done here. The point we (the panelists with him at the NDTV Solutions Summit) have been raising about how there is so little support for this kind of endeavour. It’s sad but I also agree with what Zubin Mehta was saying there about huge wealth of creativity here. Our problem always is that we know it and I think it’s time that we didn’t ignore it. It’s full of energy and power.
How are Indian artists looked at in the West?
I think we have to be very aware of, as I was saying earlier also, what we are and what our endeavour is to be artist. That we are Indian is almost incidental. We are not to prove our Indianness. It’s nobody’s business. We have to go forward with lot of confidence. For an artist, it (to be seen in the confines of nationality) limits the possibilities.
You made a Gangnam style video in support of Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei. What made you take such a stand?
I think it is really important. What I did was to make a decision that I was going to do something in relation to Ai Wei Wei for Ai Wei Wei, and I have never met Ai Wei Wei by the way. You never do these things selflessly. They are always selfish. While doing that somewhere I realised that I have a voice. It’s possible to have a voice. And you can then discover that there are things to talk about, like the current issue of Supreme Court judgement in regards to Article 377. I think, it’s just extraordinary, this backward step. It’s colonial, worse than medieval. It’s as if we have to define ourselves as some kind of Victorian society. It’s the way things are. I think every one of us has the right and the duty to speak about these things. Voting once every five years is not any kind of democratic process. It’s only the period in between that gives us a voice.
‘Ark Nova’, the world’s first inflatable concert hall that you have done in collaboration with Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, is a fine example of sustainable design. Do you think a concept like that could be replicated here? And are you working on any projects in India?
Yes, I just did the orchestra hall in Ark Nova in Japan. We are hoping to bring it to India. I have some Ideas. I am trying to get something similar here may be with Zubin. About other projects, I am open to possibilities. There was some talk about doing something in Dandi, the end of Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march. But that hasn’t come through.