One hundred and fifty-four elements made of Cor-Ten steel form an organic, technoid form. Anish Kapoor's gigantic sculpture Memory weights 24 tons, but the work commissioned for the Deutsche Guggenheim looks "immaterial" in an astounding way. The huge rust-colored object seems to defy gravity, making contact in a subtle way with the boundaries of the space, with the walls, floor, and ceiling. In addition, the work by the Turner Prize winner prompts the viewer to become active, to "remember" different spatial perspectives. The artist describes this process as a "diagram that can never be completed."
Since the early 1980s, Kapoor has been known above all for his explorations of space. His sculptures, installations, and public art projects incorporate myriad materials characterized by special tactile or reflective qualities. In addition to stone, wax, fiberglass, and PVC, he uses mirroring stainless steel - for example, for his sculptures Cloud Gate (2004) at Chicago's Millennium Park or Turning the World Upside Down III (1996) in the lobby of Deutsche Bank's London headquarters.
The sculptures created by the artist, who was born in Bombay in 1954 and now lives in London, eschew all narrative or aesthetic interpretation. His monumental installations enable the viewer to have an intense, even physical experience. For example, in 2002, for his work Marsyas, Anish Kapoor stretched a blood-red membrane through the turbine hall at the Tate Modern in London. The dimensions of the sculpture, which is 120 meters long, made it impossible for visitors to grasp it in its entirety. Instead, they had to walk around it and gain ever-new impressions which they could then combine into a complete picture.
His ambitious project for the Deutsche Guggenheim also undertakes an intervention in the exhibition space that prevents a total view of the work. Memory provokes one to view the space in a new way. The artist himself describes this process as the creation of a "mental sculpture," for viewers have to amalgamate different remembered impressions of the enigmatic work into a whole. Like Phoebe Washburn's unusual "glass factory" Regulated Fool's Milk Meadow (2007) and Bill Viola's digital "prayer chapel" Going Forth By Day (2002), Kapoor's Memory also transforms the Berlin exhibition hall in a radical way. Under the auspices of the Guggenheim Museum's Asian Art Initiative, the sculpture will also be on view at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 2009.