SUBMARINE OR SUBLIME?

Today you will be....inside the giant earthy shell of a submarine monster.

Just kidding. It's unclear exactly what the giant sculpture in Anish Kapoor's exhibition of new work at Gladstone Gallery is supposed to resemble; the gargantuan earth and resin form seems part alien form, part natural geologic formation, curving ominously -- gracefully? -- though the white gallery space. The title of the show, "Today You Will Be in Paradise," is utterly elusive -- what could be more earthly than an enormous sculpture created of dirt? 

The sculpture is very much in line with Kapoor's overall sculptural practice. The enormous form recalls "My Red Homeland," of 2003, while the gentle curve of the piece echoes, ever so slightly, the shapes of his infamous "Mirror Voids." Kapoor is engaged in a limitless exploration of the potential of sculpture to explore, render, and summon the sublime -- his pieces are simultaneously simple and incomprehensible, familiar and completely alien. Kapoor once commented, "I'm most interested in the contradiction though. the idea that what you see isn't quite what you think you see."  

Perhaps that contradiction, that instability, is Kapoor's own idea of paradise: the moment that we admit we do not know, we do not recognize, is the moment we approach the sublime. 

Kelsey Leonard