OPINION: Anish Kapoor’s Orbit Tower Dismaland-Style Disappointment

In light of Anish Kapoor’s Olympic Park ArcelorMittal Orbit tower losing £520,000 in 2014-15, burning through £10,000 every week, Artlyst thought it would re-evaluate Kapoor’s towering work. The sculpture/tower, was funded by the ArcelorMittal steel company to the tune of £16 million received £3 million in public funds It opened in 2012 as an observation tower.

Having recently been the end-point of Anish Kapoor and Ai Weiwei’s march in support of refugees – the artists joined forces for a walk across London as the two strode down London’s Piccadilly with a hoard of journalists at the beginning of an eight-mile journey to show solidarity with refugees around the world – a march that Artlyst attended, ending at Kapoor’s aesthetically displeasing tower.

A slightly tired Ai Weiwei told Artlyst at the time: “This is a beautiful day, these are beautiful people, and we crossed the city which is amazing – and for me it was really educational.” The pair concluded their walk with Ai’s signature gesture to the press pack, in this instance in front of Kapoor’s now-haemorrhaging tower, perhaps particularly poignant now in light of wasted taxpayers money, and the tower’s failure to create a profit?

A plight that is not helped by the tower’s location? Situated far from the heart of the city, perhaps Kapoor ending his march there was an attempt to create fresh interest in his Eiffel Tower? Sadly if this was the case it hasn’t worked. The staff were friendly and helpful – not like experiencing the joys of Banksy’s Dismaland – even if the tower might not have been out-of-place there?

Perhaps Kapoor’s Orbit should be dismantled and re-purposed – like the Bristol street artist Banksy’s ‘crap’ dystopian theme park, that was dismantled before being shipped to a migrant camp near Calais to make shelters – perhaps a fitting end to a march in support of refugees around the world would have been Kapoor pushing the plunger on his construction, giving Banksy a call, and shipping it off on the same boat?

Words: Paul Black © Artlyst 2015.

Lead image: Anish Kapoor’s Orbit in the Olympic park at Stratford, photo P A Black © Artlyst 2015.


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