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Anish Kapoor, Untitled

Anish Kapoor explains: “The idea is to make an object which is not an object, to make a hole in the space, to make something which actually does not exist. Even more, the extraordinary appearance, loved and feared, of a piece of void, at once finite and infinite, reactivates the symbolic contact between inside and outside, earth and heaven, male and female, active and passive, conceptual and physical, thus renewing the process of knowing.” Or as Germano Celant states: “For Anish Kapoor, the magic of artmaking lies in continually rethinking and representing the exemplary act of creating a universe.” (G. CELANT, Anish Kapoor, Milan, 1996, p. XI)

Anish Kapoor (born 1954) is a Turner Prize winning sculptor.

Born in Bombay (Mumbai), India, Kapoor attended the Doon School, located in Dehra Dun, India. He moved to England in 1972, where he has lived since. He studied art, first at the Hornsey College of Art and later at the Chelsea School of Art Design. He currently works in London, although he frequently visits India and has acknowledged that his art is inspired by both Western and Eastern cultures. His art historical influences include: Mantegna, Beuys, Barnett Newman and Yves Klein.

In the early 1980s, Kapoor emerged as one of a number of British sculptors working in a new style and gaining international recognition for their work (the others included Richard Wentworth, Richard Deacon, Anthony Gormley and Bill Woodrow).

Kapoor’s pieces are frequently simple, curved forms, usually monochromatic and brightly colored. Most often, the intention is to engage the viewer, evoking mystery through the works’ dark cavities, awe through their size and simple beauty, tactility through their inviting surfaces and fascination through their reflective facades. His early pieces rely on powder pigment to cover the works and the floor around them. This practice was inspired by the mounds of brightly colored pigment in the markets and temples of India. His later works are made of solid, quarried stone, many of which have carved apertures and cavities, often alluding to, and playing with, dualities (earth-sky, matter-spirit, lightness-darkness, visible-invisible, conscious-unconscious, male-female and body-mind). His most recent works are mirror-like, reflecting or distorting the viewer and surroundings.

Since the end of the 1990s, Kapoor has produced a number of large works, including Taratantara (1999), a 35 meter-tall piece installed in the Baltic Flour Mills in Gateshead, England before renovation began there and Marsyas (2002), a large work of steel and PVC installed in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. A stone arch by Kapoor is permanently placed at the shore of a lake in Lodingen in northern Norway. In 2000, one of Kapoor’s works, Parabolic Waters, consisting of rapidly rotating colored water, was shown outside the Millennium Dome in London. In 2001, Sky Mirror, a large mirror piece that reflects the sky and surroundings, was commissioned in Nottingham. In 2004, Cloud Gate, a 110-ton stainless steel sculpture, was unveiled at Millennium Park in Chicago. In the Fall of 2006, another large mirror sculpture, also entitled Sky Mirror, was shown in Rockefeller Center, New York. Soon to be completed are a memorial to the British victims of 9/11 in New York, and the design and construction of a subway station in Naples, Italy[2]. In 2007, Kapoor showed Svayambh, a 1.5 meter carved block of red wax that moved on rails through the Nantes Musée des Beaux-Arts as part of the Biennale estuaries. Kapoor’s recent work increasingly blurs the boundaries between architecture and art.

Kapoor represented Britain in the 1990 Venice Biennale, where he was awarded the Premio Duemila; the following year, he won the Turner Prize. The South Bank Show presented the first full-length television profile of him in February 1999. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held in the Tate and Hayward Gallery in London, Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland, Reina Sofia in Madrid, the National Gallery in Ottawa, Musee des arts contemporains (Grand-Hornu) in Belgium, the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux and at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Brazil. His work is collected worldwide, notably by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Tate Modern in London, Fondazione Prada in Milan, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the De Pont Foundation in the Netherlands and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan.

Object information

Limestone and pigment
83 x 53 x 41 cm
Private collection, 2009; Axel Vervoordt, 2008; Private collection, Belgium.

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