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Anish Kapoor takes his art to India

Turner prize-winning sculptor Anish Kapoor admits nerves ahead of first exhibition in his native India

The Turner prize-winning sculptor Anish Kapoor is uncharacteristically nervous about his next project: his first ever exhibition in his native India.

"A return is always going to be difficult – quite frightening, actually," said the man whose exhibition last year at the Royal Academy in London was the most successful ever for a living artist, attracting more than 260,000 visitors.

One of the most spectacular pieces from that show, a cannon that fires large blocks of wax into a corner of the gallery, gradually producing a slaughterhouse scene of blood red splodges, is among those being installed in Delhi where the exhibition will open at the end of the month, and where Kapoor was born in 1954.

"I still have many relatives there – I hope they will approve," he said.

While in Mumbai the exhibition will take over an entire Bollywood film studio, in Delhi they have merely had to expand an entrance to the new wing of the National Gallery of Modern Art to get the pieces in. All were designed and partly constructed at his studios in London.

Although Kapoor has created gigantic pieces all over the world and site work will begin this week for his Orbit 115m spiral tower at the London 2012 Olympics site, he has only had a temporary installation of one outdoor piece in India.

He originally left India to become an engineer like his father, studying in Israel, only taking up art seriously when he moved to England in the early 1970s. Since then he has become one of the best known contemporary sculptors in the world, noted for work on an epic scale, including Marsyas, which filled the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, and the Tees Valley Giants, where over the next 10 years he plans to create the five largest sculptures in the world working with the engineer Cecil Balmond.

Andrea Rose, head of visual arts at the British Council, and co-curator of the exhibition, said she and Kapoor first went to India 10 years ago and had been looking for exhibition spaces ever since.


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