7 January 2009

Anish Kapoor: Memory

Monumental memory.

When one is affected by the presence of a non-living subject, one's memory and perception is altered irrevocably, monumentally.

For example: When one views the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building for the first time; when one returns to the house where one's childhood took place; when one visits a mausoleum of personal significance.

The experiences with the above non-living subjects differ greatly from those with most non-living subjects (i.e. objects) because they have affects on the psyche in a way completely opposite to most non-living subjects (i.e. objects) we experience: They are converted to memory.

Some examples of non-monumental, non-living subjects (i.e. objects): When one walks down a street and sees house after house, all irrelevant to oneself; when one passes an office building where one does not work and which contains no workers known to oneself; when one passes a church/synagogue/mosque where one neither worships nor invests any architectural interest.

The same phenomenon is true for art in the form of sculpture. When we are presented a non-living subject to consider as 'art', we are challenged to determine whether this subject will be taken on board, into our psyche, allowed to have an affect on us (physically, mentally) and thus converted to memory, or whether it will be relegated to indifferent-status, irrelevance to one's life.

I daresay most sculptures, as with most other man-mades, are in the latter category or somewhere in between the two: Sentimental, nostalgic, token-memories. Few take the place which, I assume, all aspire to: Monumental memory.

Monumental memory is such which affects our way of thinking, our perception of the world and our position in it and thus our life in general. When a non-living subject does not reach the level of monumental-memory it is relegated to mere object-status.

This is not to say it won't be raised to subject-status by someone else, but this is inconsequential to an argument on memory, which is, above all, highly individual.

Anish Kapoor's Memory (2008), is a non-living subject which will always remain in my psyche, my memory. It has a gravity which I cannot remember to have felt from any other sculpture.

Anish Kapoor: Memory is on at the Deutsche Guggenheim until 1 February.


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