Monday, 5 April 2010

New! 'Battlin' Tatlin' (sorry) at Art21

Poor old Vladimir Tatlin. Having been ruthlessly picked-apart by contemporary artists, he yet again casts a long shadow over contemporary art. Anish Kapoor’s design for a monumental public sculpture for the 2012 London Olympic site, unveiled this week, is a sort of organic knock-off of Tatlin’s spiralling lattices of iron and steel. Kapoor’s signature maroon palette and bulging, squidgy forms – a catch-all code for blood and guts and sex and death and all the other big themes slapped onto the artist’s works in enthusiastic press releases – have been reconfigured into a huge spurt of latticed steel that loops around itself and culminates in a disc-like viewing platform. The sculpture – officially the ArcelorMittal Orbit, a car crash of corporate acronyms surely soon to be replaced with an architectural nickname (The Partially-Decayed Human Larynx, maybe) – will be Britain’s largest public sculpture, an accolade that sounds like an insult (like ‘Employee of the Month’) but is in fact the terms on which public commissions tend to define themselves these days, especially in the UK.

Read the whole piece here.

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