Anish Kapoor's "Leviathan" Invades Paris

May 10, 2011
Exec. Prod. of Franchises & Series. He previously reported for HuffPost, L.A. Daily Journal, and Biloxi Sun-Herald.
(Photo: Reuters Pictures).

Acclaimed British sculptor Anish Kapoor shot to stardom here in the U.S. when his Cloiud Gate (aka "The Bean") landed in Chicago's Millennium Park in 2006.

On Tuesday he unveiled an equally-ambitious — and huge — public art installation in the City of Lights when his "Leviathan" was unveiled at Paris' Grand Palais.

(Photo: Reuters Pictures).

The massive 35-yard bulbous sculpture, made of a rubber-like material, and designed to be entered by visitors, fills almost the entirety of the Grand Palais' 35,000-square foot nave. 

Curious art fans are ushered inside Leviathan via a blacked-out revolving door that leads into a "womb-like cavity — warm, oppressive, and bathed in red light," according to Reuters. The whole experience is akin to being swallowed by a whale. 

(Photo: Reuters Pictures).

The red glow inside the belly of the whale, so to speak, is created by the light coming through the Grand Palais' signature glass roof. The natural lighting also means that the interior temperature varies according to the passing cloud cover. At times, it can be downright stifling.

Kapoor used Leviathan's unveiling on Tuesday to speak out against another kind of stifling oppression: the ongoing detention of famed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. He said China's treatment of Ai was "barbaric," and called on galleries around the world to close for one day in protest.

(Photo: Reuters Pictures).

Ai, an outspoken critic of the Beijing regime, has been held incommunicado for more than a month.

"It does bear witness to the barbarity of governments if they're that paranoid that they have to put away artists. It's a ridiculous situation," Kapoor said Tuesday.

(Photo: Reuters Pictures).
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