Imagine you are standing on the surface of Mars, the Red Planet, with the contrast of your precision-made reflective metal space capsule against the rough rugged barren landscape ahead of you, perhaps appearing like a volcanic form in which twisting swirling flames and smoke might fly out, throwing glowing, bright red rocks far up into the sky.
This contrast is what you will find at Anish Kapoor’s latest exhibition at the Lisson Gallery in London. Three large organic sculptural forms, which could be parts of meteorites, or rocks brought back from the Red Planet, are in fact man-made, created by Kapoor as his work moves from the reality of the gallery setting to the illusion of something from a different and alien world, the edges turned black by the force of travelling through space, sitting alongside two of his characteristic red stainless-steel curved mirrors in which the visitor is reflected in many different and unexpected ways.
To maintain the theme, drawings of fires burning from the surface of the planet are so intense that you can almost feel the heat from the brilliantly-coloured flames swirling upwards. They have the reality of photographs of a hot inhospitable molten area, whether a volcano on earth or an alien planet spewing out flames and rocks – perhaps those very rocks which sit in the gallery?
Kapoor is the master of creating contrasts, contradictions and new relationships that cross time and space, as he did with his 2015 exhibition in the garden of The Palace of Versailles. The question which the viewer is left to ponder here is whether these images represent the start of an explosive fiery process to create a new world, or do they mark the destruction of an old? Or both?