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Anish Kapoor’s menstrual art and the vexed question of appropriation

Can a man deal with women’s issues?” the British artist wonders. “Is a man allowed to?”

BLOOD LEAKS and gushes from the art in Anish Kapoor’s new show at the Lisson Gallery in London. Almost literally in the case of his silicone and fibreglass reliefs: the gauze dangling beneath them is spattered with scarlet. In his oil paintings, meanwhile, blood-red spurts emanate from corporeal pinks and black cavities and orifices. Black is deathly, says Mr Kapoor, but also, like red, a colour of earth.

Mr Kapoor, a British artist who was born in Mumbai, is best known for his monumental sculptures (including a gigantic tubular installation in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in 2002). His new series of paintings contemplate the idea of ritual, and the meaning of blood—which, as he puts it, is “associated with the abject and impure”. In particular, the paintings evoke menstrual blood. That motif raises another question, a version of which these days confronts artists in every genre and form. “Can a man deal with women’s issues?” Mr Kapoor muses. “Is a man allowed to?”


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