Visual Arts: Leaving no stone unturned

Anish Kapoor is one of Britain's most garlanded contemporary artists. although, recently, his reputation has cooled. Now, with a major retrospective at the Hayward, his profile has an opportunity to grow again

Anish Kapoor had a glitteringly successful early career. He was born in Bombay in 1954, studied at Hornsey and Chelsea schools of art in the 1970s and emerged alongside Anthony Gormley, Richard Deacon and Tony Cragg as one of the New British Sculptors of the 1980s. By the end of 1991 he had won both the Premio Duemila, at the Venice Biennale and the Turner Prize. Not a bad start.

Since then his reputation has gathered strength abroad but he's had a rather quieter time of it here. There was a likeable, if low-key, exhibition of pigment drawings a few years back in a basement room at the Tate and a show with the Lisson Gallery at the end of 1995, but it has taken until this year for a British public gallery to give him a major exhibition. Come the spring, his work from the last 10 years will fill the entire Hayward Gallery, upstairs, downstairs, inside and out - it should be quite a sight.

Meanwhile a show of recent sculptures in white-veined alabaster opened at the Lisson Gallery yesterday, proving that Kapoor has been far from idle, while away from the public eye. In the past, his range of materials has included stainless steel and mirrored metal, but he has always seemed at his best with stone. In the old days it was often rubbed with intensely coloured pigment, but in these recent works he gives us the stone alone - left rugged and raw on the outside, but hollowed and highly polished within. It is a simple, but very satisfying combination.

The Hayward Gallery's exhibition opens on 30 April. The Lisson's appetiser runs until the end of next month.

Anish Kapoor, The Lisson Gallery, 52-54 Bell Street, London NWI (0171- 724 2739) to 28 Feb

ART EXTRA

Two reasons to go to Islington this weekend. Not only are these the last two days of Art 98, The London Contemporary Art Fair, but at the Crafts Council on Pentonville Road (0171-278 7700), there's a very good exhibition of work by the great artist-potter Bernard Leach, the first major survey for 20 years.

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