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 generations greatest artists, to produce a new work for the Naves monumental space, from 11th May to 23rd June 2011.
Thirty years after his first exhibition in Paris, MONUMENTA marks Anish Kapoors 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 worlds 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 The ArcelorMittal 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 Kapoors 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 visitors 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.