Formed of three 35 metre-high interconnected balloons, the Leviathan sculpture has a dark purple skin and a translucent red interior.
From inside, the silhouette of the palace ceiling is visible through the bulbous red rubber.
The sculpture was designed for the fourth Monumenta exhibition, which closes imminently.
See more images of this project on the photographer's website.
The following information is from the press release:
Anish Kapoor at the Grand Palais
Leviathan from 11th May to 23rd June 2011
Each year MONUMENTA invites an internationally-renowned artist to turn their vision to the vast Nave of Paris’ Grand Palais and to create a new artwork especially for this space. MONUMENTA is an artistic interaction on an unparalleled scale, filling 13,500m2 and a height of 35m.
The first three MONUMENTA exhibitions were hugely successful, drawing in 150,000 visitors over five weeks. In 2007, the first challenge was met by German artist Anselm Kiefer, who resides in France, followed by American artist Richard Serra in 2008 and French artist Christian Boltanski in 2010.
For its fourth incarnation, the French Ministry for Culture and Communication has invited Anish Kapoor, one of his generation’s greatest artists, to produce a new work for the Nave’s monumental space, from 11th May to 23rd June 2011.
Thirty years after his first exhibition in Paris, MONUMENTA marks Anish Kapoor’s return to the French capital. He is considered as one of the most important sculptors of our time. His work has profoundly enlarged the scope of contemporary sculpture, as much by his mastery of monumental scale as by the colourful sensuality and apparent simplicity emanating from his works. All this contributes to the fascination they hold for the public at large, as demonstrated, for example, by the popular success of Cloud Gate in Chicago.
Born in Bombay in 1954, he has lived in London since the 1970s. His work rapidly gained international recognition and has been awarded numerous prizes, including the famous Turner Prize, which he won in 1991. His career has been the subject of a number of solo exhibitions at the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Louvre, the Royal Academy, Tate Modern, etc. Recently, he has been commissioned to design the key landmark for the forthcoming Olympic Games in London: a 116-metre-high sculpture entitled « Orbit ».
The artist describes the work he is creating for MONUMENTA as follows: “A single object, a single form, a single colour.” “My ambition”, he adds, “is to create a space within a space that responds to the height and luminosity of the Nave at the Grand Palais.
Visitors will be invited to walk inside the work, to immerse themselves in colour, and it will, I hope, be a contemplative and poetic experience.”
Designed using the most advanced technologies, the work will not merely speak to us visually, but will lead the visitor on a journey of total sensorial and mental discovery.
A technical, poetic challenge unparalleled in the history of sculpture, this work questions what we think we know about art, our body, our most intimate experiences and our origins.
Spectacular and profound, it responds to what the artist considers to be the crux of his work: namely, “To manage, through strictly physical means, to offer a completely new emotional and philosophical experience.”
The awe-inspiring strength of Anish Kapoor’s work is a fertile ground that favours the democratization of the access to contemporary art.
Through this series and subsequent exhibitions, the French Ministry for Culture and Communication hopes to appeal to the widest possible audiences.
To exceed the visitor’s expectations, artistic educators, whose knowledge and teaching abilities multiply the possibilities to access and understand the artwork, will be on hand throughout the exhibition to talk to visitors, widening their understanding of contemporary art at no extra cost.
School groups will have their own special programme developed in collaboration with the French Ministry for National Education.
Multidisciplinary and fun, the programme is designed for young visitors, ranging from nursery school to high school, one highlight being dance workshops in partnership with the Théâtre National de Chaillot.
There will be learning activities on the internet, making it possible to link the artist's work to school programmes.
Themed cross-generational tours will also create a link with Anish Kapoor’s creation.
In addition, tours for the disabled will be available, in order to facilitate access to today's heritage.
Finally, throughout the exhibition, an events programme will propose a dialogue between word, music, dance and Anish Kapoor’s work and the creations it shelters, in order to uncover new aspects of his creation.
Jean de Loisy is curator of Monumenta 2011. Independent exhibition curator, he has held among other positions that of creation inspector for the French Ministry for Culture and Communication, Cartier Foundation curator and curator at the Georges Pompidou Centre. He has directed and co-directed a variety of art centres in France. He has organized numerous solo artist exhibitions and memorable exhibitions such as "La Beauté" in Avignon in 2000, or "Traces du sacré" in 2008 at the Pompidou Centre. He has been working for 30 years with Anish Kapoor, for whom he organized numerous exhibitions including the 2009 retrospective at London's Royal Academy of Arts.
The MONUMENTA admission price is 5 Euros, with concessions 2.50 Euros. The cultural programme (free with admission) proposes concerts, performances, readings and ‘encounters’ in connection with Anish Kapoor’s artwork. A bi-lingual highly documented website will help visitors to prepare their visit.
A fully illustrated album, co-published by the CNAP and the Rmn-GP publishing services, Paris 2011, and monograph, co-published by Flammarion and the CNAP, will be published in connection with this event.
Organised by the French Ministry for Culture and Communication, the exhibition is co-produced by the Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP) and the Etablissement public de la Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées (Rmn-GP).
Sign up for a daily roundup
of all our stories