Anish Kapoor’s Descension is one of the most unsettling art installations I’ve ever seen, inspiring both intrigue and foreboding. The kinetic sculpture features a dark pool of water, with a considerable diameter of 5 metres, that is spun by a motor to develop into a whirlpool. Not to be underestimated is the effect of the constant sloshing sounds emanating from Descension which add to its chaotic abyssal effect.
The images above are of the 2015 installation at the Galleria Continua in Italy, but Kapoor originally displayed his Descension concept at the at the Kochi Biennale Foundation back in 2014 (pictured below).
The impact of the piece is vastly diminished by the railings in my opinion, but the all-consuming nature of the vortex is ever present. However the installation in Italy also has a diameter that is almost twice as large, and without railings appears more like a tear in the fabric of space looking out into the void.
If one is talking about sculpture then scale is almost everything — two things, scale and skin. There are sculptors who believe that the skin of an object is not what defines it. I would disagree, I would say that the skin of an object is what defines it; its weight and and mass are contingent on its skin.
But scale of course is much more mysterious, scale is another one of those unknowables. Its not to do with size, it is to do with the relationship between size and meaning.Anish Kapoor
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