Sculptor Anish Kapoor has never been one to avoid a grand gesture—he’s made use of what has been called the blackest synthetic material in the world (and found himself in a legal battle because of it), and he once sued the National Rifle Association because it included an image of his bean-shaped Cloud Gate sculpture in an advertisement. His latest gambit is making use of nanotechnology, which is more often considered the stuff of chemistry and physics.
Kapoor will debut works made via nanotechnology in 2022 in a two-part presentation spread across the Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Palazzo Manfrin in Venice, Italy, both of which are better known for mounting presentations of Renaissance art and Old Masters works. The shows will open on April 20, 2022, just a few days before the Venice Biennale begins welcoming the public.
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What Kapoor is doing with nanotechnology isn’t totally clear, though the Gallerie dell’Accademia said that the artist plans to enlist carbon atoms. It also appears that he views these new works as being in dialogue with art of the past.
“It is a huge honor to be invited to engage with the collections at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice; perhaps one of the finest collections of classical painting anywhere in the world,” Kapoor said in a statement. “All art must engage with what went before.”
The Gallerie dell’Accademia, which organized the show, brought in big talent to organize the exhibition of these epic works: Taco Dibbits, the director of the Amerstdam’s Rijksmuseum. In a statement, Dibbits said that Kapoor’s latest sculptures “promise to be a revelation.”
Kapoor is no stranger to Venice. Back in 1990, Kapoor represented Britain at the Venice Biennale with 16 hulking sandstone blocks as well as sculptures made using powdered blue pigment that were intended substances used in religious ceremonies in India, the country where he was born. (One of those sculptures is now in the collection of the Tate.) For his work, Kapoor won the Premio Duemila, an award given to artists younger than 35. The choice provoked controversy because Kapoor was 36 at the time.
He’s also appeared in group shows at the Venice Biennale: once in 1982, in the “Aperto” section for emerging artists, and another time in 1993, when his work was shown at the Italian Pavilion alongside art by Francesco Clemente, Luciano Fabri, and Fabio Mauri.