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Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Museum: 25 October 2019 – 1 January 2020

Taimiao Art Museum of Imperial Ancestral Temple: 10 November 2019 - 28 December 2019

As Kapoor’s first solo museum show in China, the exhibition will present some of the artist’s most significant and celebrated works of his last thirty-five years – with powerful, self-generated installations at CAFA Art Museum and sensorial, geometrical sculptures at the Taimiao Art Museum of Imperial Ancestral Temple. 

At the CAFA Art Museum, Anish Kapoor presents four performative artworks central to his recent practice. Symphony for a Beloved Sun (2013) will first greet visitors, transforming the central atrium of the museum into a landscape activated by a machine calmly processing masses of aggregating material. The work deposits bricks of red wax along several ascending conveyor belts, before dramatically plummeting into a molten heap of their own making. This system – watched over by a vast, red sun that hovers above the scene – takes place with no evident human interaction; the artist’s hand is replaced by a seemingly autonomous, invisible machine.

The second floor of the museum will house Kapoor’s Sectional Body preparing for Monadic Singularity (2015). This ambitious construction explores the relationship between the interior and exterior, not only of the work, but of the body and the space itself. An entire corner of the museum will be reconfigured into an industrial landscape entitled Destierro (2017), denoting ‘exile’ in Spanish. Only once exhibited before, at Argentina’s Parque de la Memoria, Destierro encompasses hundreds of tons of earth sprayed with red pigment contrasted by a solitary, ultramarine-blue digger, battling against the tides of detritus. My Red Homeland (2003) is another large-scale, self-generating installation. Here, a metal blade is mechanically driven around an open circular container filled with 25 tons of molten red wax. 

Continuing across Beijing at the Taimiao Art Museum of Imperial Ancestral Temple, the largest ancient palatial structure in the world, the exhibition sees Kapoor addressing the architecture and spiritual history of the site, reflecting and engaging with the spaces through a series of stainless steel and pigment sculptures. The central atrium of the building will present two of Kapoor’s mirrored steel works S-Curve (2006) and C-Curve (2007), which morph from concave to convex, bending and twisting their surroundings. Viewpoints are further shifted by a curated selection of Kapoor’s reflective stainless-steel sculptures, including Stave (2013), Non-Object (Spire) (2008) and Non-Object (Door) (2008). Kapoor’s use of raw paint pigment – a material formed of pure color that soaks up light and refutes the surface scrutiny allowed by his polished surfaces – was the foundation for a seminal series of pigment sculptures that will inhabit the two galleries flanking the central Temple. 

Anish Kapoor, artist, commented: 

I am honoured to be making these two exhibitions in Beijing both in the context of CAFA and the temples of the Forbidden City. I have planned exhibitions that reach across my work of the last thirty-five years.

Fan Di’an, President of China Artists Association and the Central Acedmy of Fine Arts, commented: 

As one of the world’s most prolific and respected contemporary artists, Anish Kapoor is a perfect example of combining ancient and modern, eastern and western. His artwork is rooted in ancient Indian philosophy and thought, fused with the spiritual core of Buddhism and Daoism from the East and artistic concepts and psychoanalysis from the West. In the contemporary transformation of ancient civilizations, he activates mysterious and powerful resonant forces. In Kapoor’s work, color is baptism and belief, space is intelligence and soul, and material is substance and spirit; through visual uncertainty, he constructs a boundary of the ethereal and great void, leading viewers into a dialogue that transcends nature and perception, and this dialogue is what Chinese audiences should truly contemplate and explore.

Zhang Zikang, Director of CAFA Art Museum, and Chief Curator, commented: 

Anish Kapoor is an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist. His work is compelling and will radiate across these sites in Beijing, connecting well with Chinese audiences. Kapoor is an Indian born artist whose work resonates across continents and nationalities, it presents a language of sculpture that is beyond any specific cultural or ideological values. His unique works presented in this exhibition will open a rich dialogue with the Chinese audience. Just like the old Chinese saying, “the other mountain’s stone can polish jade”, I believe this exhibition will provide a profound example of how to transform the rich traditional intellectual resources of China into a contemporary form for today. 

This exhibition is hosted by Central Academy of Fine Arts and Beijing Municipal Federation Trade Unions, co-organised by CAFA Art Museum and Taimiao Art Museum, and Beijing Zonhom Arts and Cultural Development Co. Ltd is the lead supporter of this exhibition, and the other supporters are Lisson Gallery, Galleria Continua and the British Council.