Saturday, 16 May 2009

Better out than in? (Brighton Festival 2)

The old Circus Street fruit and veg market has been opened up again for the first time in years this month - as the unlikely setting for Anish Kapoor's outsized sculpture 'The Dismemberment of Jeanne d'Arc'.

There was only one place in the market offering a view of the entire work, and its ghoulish portrayal of a dismembered woman's body reveals itself.

Until you land in it the installation is a strangely impressive set of large, blood red, rocky objects, among which to wander aimlessly, enjoying as a context through which to see the impressive architecture from the inside, to drift off in time and into a lively market, long before the developers gave the building's shell one last outing by sponsoring an art event for Brighton Festival.

But it didn't seem that unusual, the bottom of Albion Hill having a relationship with visual art and colours.

Graffiti is banned now in Tarner Park, but it adorns the exterior of Circus street Market - and brightens up a drab walk day after day. As does the outdoor decor of the Ocean Rooms.

Anish Kapoor has certainly given us something to think about - but its scale and commercial feel mean I can't help liking the art outside the building more than the exhibition within.

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