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Anish Kapoor's sculptures ready for the public to see at Houghton Hall after Covid-19 delay




Ahead of a contemporary exhibition opening to the public at Houghton Hall this weekend, the global artist has said it a "must see" with the sculptures complementing the landscape in which they are positioned.

Mumbai-born Anish Kapoor has teamed up with Italian curator Mario Codognato, who studied at the University of East Anglia, for the exhibition which runs from this Sunday to November 1.

Global and national media outlets descended on the Grade I listed eighteenth century country house yesterday for the launch of the exhibition, which has been rescheduled from March 29 due to the coronavirus.

Anish Kapoor Exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured from left to right are Lord Cholmondeley with Anish Kapoor with one of the untitled 2018-20 onyx sculptures. Pictures: Paul Marsh
Anish Kapoor Exhibition at Houghton Hall. Pictured from left to right are Lord Cholmondeley with Anish Kapoor with one of the untitled 2018-20 onyx sculptures. Pictures: Paul Marsh

The exhibition is the Turner Prize-winner's largest outdoor exhibition in the United Kingdom, and is centred on stone and marble sculptures, many of which have not been shown in public before.

Kapoor, a globally famous artist who created the Orbit at Olympic Park for the London 2012 games, said the pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement has changed the way people think about things and engage with them.

On the exhibition's setting, he added: "This is the best site in England. The exhibition is drawn to its formality and addresses the landscape so we have tried to think in relation to that. I hope it holds scale and meaning.

Anish Kapoor Exhibition at Houghton Hall, Sky Mirror 2018 Stainless Steel
Anish Kapoor Exhibition at Houghton Hall, Sky Mirror 2018 Stainless Steel

"I have been coming here for the last 20 years, a long, long time. Somehow this exhibition has arisen due to Lord Cholmondeley's interest in contemporary art."

In total, there are 21 sculptures and 39 drawings with eight people being allowed to look at the indoor art at one time. These will be housed in two rooms as opposed to 10, and social distancing will be in place.

The first day of the exhibition has sold out, but it will be running five-days-a-week for the public until the beginning of November.

Among the sculptures is a Sky Mirror on the West Avenue which has been designed to "bring the heavens literally down to earth", reinforcing the notion that nature is at the heart of the work.

Curator Mario Codognato said: "It is a great occasion to get back to some sort of normality and it's also a good opportunity to see a contemporary exhibition with more of it being outdoor in a safe and relaxed classic setting.

"All these works establish a dialogue with architecture and landscape so it is related to the history of the place. The work relates to nature and the order of things. For instance, it puts the sky on a human scale and brings it into a much more intimate level. I am very happy with the result."

He added that the planning for the exhibition had taken "a year or two", as well as "two to three weeks" to install it. Creating an exhibition in an historic setting has meant ensuring the art has a presence in itself so that it is not "dwarfed" by the setting, but rather complements it.

Anish Kapoor looking at the Untitled 1997 Kilkenny Limestone sculpture. Pictures: Paul Marsh
Anish Kapoor looking at the Untitled 1997 Kilkenny Limestone sculpture. Pictures: Paul Marsh

David Cholmondeley has described the exhibition as a "thrilling opportunity" to showcase Kapoor's work, and said he was "doubly fortunate" to be able to open to the public at a time when many exhibitions have been cancelled across the world.

Kapoor has lived and worked in London since the late seventies and rose to prominence through his seminal body of pigment sculptures, entitled '1000 Names' in the early eighties. This work was influenced by his journey through India in 1979 where little piles of pigment were sold at the side of the road for cosmetic and ritual use.

He has since showcased work in places such as New York, Jerusalem, Naples, London and the largest national park in Italy.

Houghton Hall has previously exhibited sculptures by Henry Moore and Damien Hirst, and this year's exhibition is sponsored by Dorotheum, the largest auction house in central Europe which has its headquarters in Vienna.



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