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London: Giant mirrors land in Kensington Gardens

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012
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<small>Sean O'Neill</small>

I'm not aware of ever having attained inner peace. But on Thursday I came close to doing so while viewing the four oversize, curving sculptures that for the past week or so have been drawing visitors to London's Kensington Gardens. The city's star artist, Anish Kapoor, has made the mirroresque artworks specifically for this royal corner of Hyde Park, with its sightlines pleasantly free of any skyscrapers.

Kapoor is famous in the U.S. for his so-called "millennium bean," a glinting installation near Chicago's Grant Park. He cribbed that same "reflective object outdoors" concept for dreaming up these sculptures that he's put in the city's most central park.

One of them is a curved reddish disk floating on a lake and reflecting the landscape, a bit like the famous painting within a painting by Rene Magritte. Another is bent like a funhouse mirror. A third is conical, like an upside down tornado.

The most popular of the sculptures looks like a satellite dish large enough to contact Saturn. The mirror brings a reflection of the sky down to earth, placing an image of the clouds upside down and next to a lake that's home to several mute swans. Stare at the sculptures for a while, and you'll be surprised at the memories or ideas that pop into your head.

I found myself thinking that the sculptures looked like sinister objects from outer space. Maybe they will one day play a frightening chord, like those shiny monoliths in 2001.

But this installation is about inner peace. Hard for me to find, like I said.

Go and find the giant mirrors and your own center of calm before March 13, when they come down (kapoorinkensington.org.uk, free).

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