Ascension in Venice

Behind the scenes

I've long admired the work of Anish Kapoor, an Indian-born British artist, who shows all over the world. I first saw a work of his in a touring show of modern British art around 1984 at Queensland Art Gallery where I was working at the time (I think it went to the former National Art Gallery in Wellington as well - those were the days). Fine powder in primary colours covered abstracted shapes and fanned out slightly on the surface of the floor; it was quite wonderful.

So I was pleased to see Ascension in San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice in June. Definitely not a floor work, it's a rising plume of smoke fanned into a thin circular shape as it ascends and led heavenwards by an extractor fan in the domed ceiling.

To my mind it was certainly a fair exchange for the two Tintoretto paintings normally located in this area which the Biennale's artistic director Bice Curiger borrowed for the entrance to her selected exhibition in the Giardini this year.