While Anish Kapoor’s reflective optical works are pulling in visitors to the newly refurbished Pitzhanger Manor, more sombre sculptures are at the Lisson Gallery, against the backcloth of paintings, not often displayed, and out in the courtyard like historic monuments in this multi-cultural part of London. If you walk past the Gallery, you can see the tops of the sculptures, asking you to question what is there and encouraging you to come in an explore.
As you enter the Gallery, a most unexpected sculpture stands ahead of you, made from steel and looking like a cross between a Christmas tree and a grizzly bear, and not what we are used to see from Kapoor. Shine, created from steel reinforcement placed over a central core, acts as an introduction to a gallery where blood is the theme, reflected in the huge expanses of graphic red colour on black and Kapoor’s titles for the paintings such as ‘New Blood’, ‘Teeth’ and ‘Blood Solid’. This is not what we are used to!
At the centre of this first gallery space is a onyx structure like a sepulchre which links out to the external space in which there are three more structures, like totems or monuments, surrounded by the chaotic architecture of the neighbouring streets. On the way, there are further paintings, if they are paintings, some created with silicone over gauze, giving them a unique informality.
In some ways, this exhibition tells us more about the imagination, creativity and dexterity of Anish Kapoor than his trademark showman-like pieces at the Pitzhanger Manor. We can see a whole new side to him here!