The Mystery Piece by Anish Kapoor - Descension - to Become Whirlpool of the Seine

September 29, 2016

A perpetual whirlpool of black water swirling into another dimension. We've seen it in India, we've seen it in Italy and even in the garden of Versailles. Now, Anish Kapoor's Descension will become the vortex of the Parisian Seine River. One of the most intriguing pieces by the Mumbai-born, Britain-based artist will be installed for the occasion of the 2016 Nuit Blanche in the French capital, ready to once again lure us into the dark void of the unknown. But it is not just the mysterious meaning behind the artwork that is drawing our attention; this will be the first time is it immersed into water, becoming the largest version of itself since its inception in 2014. So where can we see this dazzling installation?

video - descension whirlpool sculpture at galleria continua
Anish Kapoor - Descension, 2014 at Galleria Continua, Italy 2015

Anish Kapoor’s Descension

“I have always thought of it [the void] as a transitional space, an in-between space. It’s very much to do with time. I have always been interested as an artist in that very first moment of creativity where everything is possible and nothing has actually happened. It’s a space of becoming”. Through the words of Anish Kapoor himself, we perceive the Descension as the whirlpool of black water, yes, but also of our darkest feelings, as if all our fears, vulnerabilities, unwanted emotions, are stuck in an endless maelstrom, circulating around a drain towards the unfathomable. By evoking something rather simple from our everyday life, like a swirl of fluid, he paradoxically fills up the void through perfect execution, leaving the deepest of impressions in the manner of art history’s greatest artworks.

in a youtube video, we can see the black whirlpool sculpture installed in the floor of Galleria Continua in San Gimignano
Anish Kapoor in front of his Descension, courtesy Galleria Continua

The State of a Constant Flux

Built with steel, Anish Kapoor’s Descension is a sort of a tank filled with water and equipped with a motor that spins it in a loop. Once again using the best of the 21st century engineering, the artist stimulates our senses and inner beings, at the same time triggering our curiosity. While all the previous editions of the installation were placed in the ground (first at India’s Kochi-Muziris biennale, then at Italy’s Galleria Continua and finally at the acclaimed exhibition in Versailles), this time the piece will become the logic-defying vortex of the Seine. If we’re to rely on our humble technical knowledge, Kapoor will swirl up the very waters of the river through the same mechanism, using the underwater motors and some kind of construction to separate the amount of water it needs to make a swirl. In any case, it will be interesting to see an entire river flowing towards an artificial epicenter, a seemingly bottomless hole towards the wildest corners of our own imagination.

Youtube Video - Anish Kapoor Descension Whirlpool Sculpture Installed on the Floor of Galleria Continua in San Gimignano

Whirpool of the Seine at Nuit Blanche 2016 Paris

Anish Kapoor’s Descension will be one of more than 40 artistic projects installed along the river Seine in Paris for the 2016 Nuit Blanche, together with 150 other works placed all over Paris and beyond. This year’s festival follows Poliphilo, a character in the 13th century novel who, rejected by his love Polia, wanters the city looking for love. The artworks can be seen on the night of October 1st, 2016, from 19h to 7h. The piece by Kapoor is best visible from Pont Neuf and Pont des Arts, as well as the Square du Vert Galant. It will stay immersed in the Seine until October 20th.

Featured images in slider: Anish Kapoor, Descension, simulation of the Nuit Blanche Paris 2016 project, courtesy of the artist; at Versailles, courtesy Kapoor Studio and Galerie Kamel Mennour © Fabrice Seixas; Descension at the 2015 Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India.

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