Architecture as Verb

Terence Tuhinanshu

Mirror’s coverage of British artist Anish Kapoor’s latest work –  Leviathan, at Grand Palais in Paris – is a happy re-examination of limit to human creativity. The work is another example of architecture blending with Art. This artist has been known for sculpting mammoth shapes in his search ‘to create a space within a space’.  For a critic’s view point please read Martin Newman’s review in Mirror. 

Designboom image of Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan. View Time Photo Essay

Unilever Series  is an annual commission that invites an artist to make a work of art for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. This award has made possible  some of the most innovative sculptures in past decade. Artists have explored shapes, materials, dreams and motivations. For her EMBANKMENT (Unilever Series, 2005), sculptor Rachel Whiteread chose to use cardboard boxes to express ‘love for mystery’. The Super 8 director, J.J. Abrams bought a mystery box as a child, which at 44, he has not opened yet.

The annual exhibition MONUMENTA, organized by Ministry of Culture and Communication, at Grand Palais presents Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan on view 11th May to 23rd June 2011. The address is:

The Grand Palais
Avenue Winston Churchill 75008

Anselm Kiefer, 2007, Richard Serra, 2008 and Christian Boltanski, 2010 have also created and exhibited enticing and amazing works at Monumenta.

Architecture has always been a canvas of grand visions and explorations. At times, it has also ventured into queer and bizarre. Critics at time have felt cheated by an architectural design overpowering the visual sense by its sheer size. The viewer is drawn  to visit the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (1997) as much for Frank Gehry’s shimmering titanium sculpture as the collection it houses.  

Observes Lucas Livingston, a student of Greek Temple architecture,

Temple architecture is only one creation through which religion and divinity are expressed, but it is potentially a powerfully persuasive medium, which can support tremendous intricacy of expression. Through an understanding of temple architecture, we can hope to have an insight into the nature of divinity in a particular religion.

The relationship is better expressed by Kapila Vatsyayan in Square and the Circle of Indian Arts as elsewhere. Indian philosophy realizes the duality of Atman and Brahman; this duality is represented by Man standing at centre of space – the pillar in a circle. She observes how architecture of an Indian city was based on the analogy of a wheel (fixed axis and revolving periphery) with majestic seat of power, palace and its temple rising tall located at the center, surrounded by mid sized structures of businesses, followed by smaller residential ones of the prominent citizens and finally, the rural hamlets on outermost periphery. This same flow of power from center to periphery and production/supply moving the opposite way can be observed even in most developed contemporary cities the world over. The material truth seems to grow out of the karmic cycle.

As art expresses its refusal to be chained by what is known and the perfected, so do architectural break-outs attempt to examine philosophical truths changing concern while retaining function. 


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One response to “Architecture as Verb

  1. Shailendra Pandit

    “…architectural break-outs attempt to examine philosophical truths changing concern while retaining function.”

    One of Anish Kapoor’s iconic works, the Cloud Gate, is located in Chicago’s Millennium Park. This is the city that gave the world the slogan ‘form follows function.’ Chicago architects tried to strip architecture of vagueness and ornamentation. So there was a fair amount of suspicion, if not outright resentment, when Kapoor presented his vision to City fathers. Today, ‘the bean’ is the biggest tourist draw in Chicago. Proof perhaps that, sometimes, form trumps function!

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