Anish Kapoor & Nicholas HloboArtists in wonderland

Published in October 2010clockTime to read: 4m45s
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Year after year, Anish Kapoor, one of the world’s most famous living artists, astonishes the international arts community with his gigantic, enigmatic creations that fill the biggest exhibition spaces in the world’s best-known galleries. Nicholas Hlobo, a young artist from Johannesburg whose output is closely watched by collectors longing to buy, weaves together rubber, leather and fabric to produce intimate objets and performances that evoke an enticing but provocative beauty. Although there are few points of connection between the two artistic approaches, the “poetic dialogue” of their mentorship year proved fruitful and inspiring.

by Richard Cork October 2010
  • Anish Kapoor
    The Mentor
  • Nicholas Hlobo
    The Protégé

Anish Kapoor’s South London studio complex encompasses an entire block, and Nicholas Hlobo confesses that he felt “overwhelmed” when he first went there – “it was much bigger than I thought!” Since then, he has returned to Kapoor’s studio several times. Hlobo regards it today as a “Wonderland”, and likens his visits there to voyages of discovery.

Both artists have been exceptionally busy with their own projects during the mentorship year, so they have squeezed their time together between exhibitions. They regard each other with an immense amount of respect, and Hlobo considers that his experience as a protégé has led him to gain a fresh outlook on his life as an artist.

For Kapoor, “art is about slowly unraveling the process that leads from one work to another. It’s a poetic conversation, and it couldn’t be had in a hurry. It’s about how forms and stuff engage with a moment of dreaming. I make works and then sit in the studio for six months and watch them. Some will last, and some survive less well. You do need to know the difference. That’s important, but you can’t tell immediately.”

Agreeing with his mentor, Hlobo also believes that “dreaming is important. It happens to me when I’m awake, as well as asleep, and I hope for better things. My dream is just to be among those people who aren’t closed up, but open to rich, unknown territory.” He pauses, looks around Kapoor’s studio, smiles and then says: “I’ve gained a lot of encouragement and wisdom here.”

Extracted from an article written by Richard Cork for Mentor & Protégé, a magazine documenting the 2010/2011 cycle of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

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