May 4, 2011

Where is that Leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein?

Thumbnail image for echo_satelloon_color1.JPG

So all this time, I've assumed it's common knowledge that I am planning to recreate a satelloon and exhibit it in the nave of the Grand Palais in Paris. And if the curators of Monumenta, the annual contemporary art installation there, hadn't called about it yet, it was just because they were busy clearing the older guys [Kiefer, Serra, Boltanski] off the list first. Which is fine, of course. No rush.

Sketch for echo satelloon in Grand Palais

But then I get this tweet about Anish Kapoor's project, which opens next week, and well:


You can understand my concern. So I "c'est quoi ça?" retweeted, and then I started poking around the Monumenta 2011 site more carefully.

And before I figure out if Kapoor's workin' my side of the street, I have to say, I'm now slightly fascinated by the mechanism of the teaser, the reveal, and the spectacle.

Monumenta has assembled a range of concepts and images highlighting aspects of Kapoor's practice which, I assume, they see as relevant to or illuminating of their own commission.

kapoor_monumenta_teasers.jpg Artwork become landscape
To see is to imagine
The écorché
Fiction and ritual
Light become ghost
Void become shape
The artwork skin
Inhabiting space

I can't help but imagine them as a narrative, a presentation, an argument that culminates in the essential, inevitable work. Leviathan: c'est logique!

The work is called Leviathan, and with references to sea serpents and gargantuan invaders and gaping maws, the write-up taps every ominous, apocalyptic Leviathan reference available, from Job to Hobbes.

Which, now that you mention it, does sound a lot like several of the works Kapoor has done before. And there's this sense of simultaneously wanting something new, that no one's ever seen before--oh, boy, will they be surprised!--and of wanting more of what works, what you know, what has been before. And then what is the nature of anticipation and experience when the pitch for the project is, "it's like Marsyas at the Tate, but bigger and spookier"?

So I'm basically thinking it's the Doomsday Machine from Star Trek: The Original Series, but in red? Or mirrored? Or mirrored on one side, and red on the other:


And then today, there's a teaser photo, a detail, on Facebook, which doesn't quite match up to my image:


Unless maybe it's the Doomsday Machine's nuts. Either way, it's all good, and totally different. Still, it's an important lesson learned, and I've decided to preserve a bit of the mystery surrounding my Monumenta project. Which is not to say anticipation.


Monumenta 2011 au Grand Palais, 11 Mai - 23 Juin [ via @Monumenta2011]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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