Ask yourself what is the value of contemporary art in the highly dramatic period we are globally experiencing. There is no need for an absolute answer, but pay attention to the fact that all art works reminds us that we are human, fragile and precarious. Contemporary art through sculptural, sound, video installations and with performances, sometimes in a bloody way, evokes in us the sense of the fragility of existence and the weight of death.
Precisely contemporary art, in its many facets, is particularly concerned with the fragility of existence and death with all the implications it entails such as pain, the sense of emptiness and abandonment. It certainly also offers visions of beauty and poetry. Art in its organicity deals with infinity and also with the finite: therefore with the limit of earthly existence.
Compared to the concept of mortality, in the midst of the global crisis from COVID-19, some works by Anish Kapoor, an Anglo-Asian artist with a Jewish-Iraqi mother and an Indian father, protagonist in 2017 of a solo show at MACRO, came to mind. So I recovered and updated the testimony of the laceration, the wound, the anguish, through these large works made of silicone, pigment, canvas and fabric in 2012.
In this way, I propose an idea of heartbreaking death that presses, shakes and tears the matter right in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. In these works there is the denunciation of a sick world, in the intertwining of inhumanity and violence. The result is not only a destruction, but a torture that leads to the tearing of the limbs of the world. I hope it doesn’t upset the idea of death too much, but talking about contemporary art also means this and people not accustomed to the idea of death is synonymous with a sedated people. I only show you some works that tell and condense ravines, bodies, guts of a bleeding humanity in its internal vital organs as if they were torn by a virus.
So I want to give you the symbolic image of what remains of humanity according to Kapoor and I do it right with an artist who works above all on perfect forms. But from today and for a long time our need is different and Kapoor had already told it in his own way. How to do it in the art world. We just have to intercept the denunciation cries of these works to be vigilant and aware witnesses to art and, above all, to the world.
Nilla Zaira D’Urso
Anish Kapoor. Exhibition view at MACRO, Roma 2017
Anish Kapoor, Dissection, 2012. Silicone on canvas, 223×305×20 cm
Through art she feels the need to get closer to nature, deciding to create an artistic residence on Etna as a “refuge for contemporary art” for artists and scholars. Thus was born Nake artistic residence. She won the Responsible Etna Award 2015. In 2017, she was invited to the Sala Zuccari, Senate of the Republic, as an art critic. She writes for Italian and foreign artists. Curator of the first Museum of Contemporary Art of Etna and of the “Contemporary Etna” project.