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Anish Kapoor 'Imagined Monochrome (Massage) 2009'
7:15pm Tuesday 12th May 2009 in Your reviews
By Mr Bear
Billed simply as "Designed to give the participant an experience of monochromatic colour" and intriguingly "A massage" I arrived at The Basement's office on Kensington Street ten minutes early as requested before my pre-booked 10am slot. The first of the day.
The assistant asks me to complete a form which I took to be a disclaimer but as I went through it, realise it was asking for a lot more medical detail than a simple signature. Completed she trots off downstairs with my form into the depths of the basement as she says, "I'll let the therapist know you're here."
I awaited sheepishly at the top for her return. Where was everyone else? Was I late?
Some five minutes later she finally returns telling me the therapists would be with me in a few minutes. Earlier it was one. Now it was at least two therapists. My imagined gentle start to the day was becoming anything but and unsure whether this was part of the 'experience' I stay quiet...
Finally I am taken down and led through the basement area in a plain grey waiting room with two benches where I am told to wait and the therapists would come get me.
Before I could gauge what was happening another door opened and I am greeted by two elder ladies in white coats who guide me with warm words into an adjoining room lit by a single strong light source coming through a flush semi-translucent panel found in office ceilings with a raised bed underneath in the middle of the room.
With door closed, I am told to simply remove my shoes and lie under the bright light with my eyes closed.
In silence one of the ladies begins a massage and at last your brain can begin to wonder what this is all about.
First I realise that this installation is designed for only one person at a time which makes me feel I've joined some exclusive club though how I will use this on my CV is another matter.
Focusing on the hands gently pressing down my shoulders and stroking my hands, for those thinking they are at least getting a massage for their £12 entry ticket I suggest will find it better spent with a practitioner as this is a very simply, light upper body massage if it could be called even that. Not a Q&A of your life history and 'where does it hurt today?' session.
So I focussed on the purpose of Anish Kapoor's installation (seeing there was little else to do) I began to wonder what it is I am meant to experience. It is then I notice the red colour synonymous with your eyes closed lying on a beach in the sun has been replaced with a grey or was it a grey-green?
This grey colour swirl in front of my eyes shut continued that left my mind on a loop of 'Was that it - was my world now in monochrome?' I tried to recall other colours in my mind with variable success. An experience akin to trying to recall a melody different to the one blasting out over the pub speakers. In this case I was being bombarded by a singular coloured light.
Not long after, the massage ended, the therapists wished me a good day and left by another exit leaving me in the hands of a young Festival assistant.
Chirpily she asked me how was it, adding she had not been.
"Alright" I replied neither adding a recommendation to go or a warning against it, thinking she would probably put her money to better use...
Back outside, Kensington Street disapointingly seemed the same and within minutes I was back to my colourful life barely reflecting what had just been except I had spent £12 on very little.