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Wikipedia About Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor CBE RA Padma Bhushan (born 12 March 1954) is an Indian-born British sculptor. Born in Mumbai, Kapoor has lived and worked in London since the early 1970s when he moved to study art, first at the Hornsey College of Art and later at the Chelsea School of Art and Design. He represented Britain in the XLIV Venice Biennale in 1990, when he was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize. In 1991 he received the Turner Prize and in 2002 received the Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Notable public sculptures include Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago, Sky Mirror exhibited at the Rockefeller Center, New York in 2006 and Kensington Gardens in 2010, Temenos, at Middlehaven, Middlesbrough, ‘Leviathan’ at the Grand Palais in 2011 and ArcelorMittal Orbit commissioned as a permanent artwork for the Olympic Park and due for completion in 2012. Anish Kapoor was elected a Royal Academician in 1999 and in 2003 he was made a Commander of the British Empire. In 2011 he was made a Commander in the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and was awarded the Japanese Praemium Imperiale. Full Wikipedia Article

essay Anish Kapoor, Walker Art Center Collections, 2005

Recalling alchemical processes, Anish Kapoor’s sculptures combine material, form, color, and texture to produce a transformative whole that is more than the sum of its parts. Exploring such concepts as mystery, faith, the sublime, and beauty through visual language, Kapoor attempts to convey both the primordial and the enduring.

Mother as a Mountain is a work from the artist’s signature “pigment” series. For him, color is a visual strategy to convey “the symbolic … the proto, the before words, the before thought … the visceral.”1 In this way, color functions in a non-narrative manner, as an index of abstract concepts. He says, “I work with red because it is the color of the physical, of the earthly, of the bodily.”2 These ideas are conveyed through form as well. The shape of the sculpture is reminiscent of the intimate space of the vagina, the robust shape of the female figure, or the monumental presence of nature as mountain. All intersect with the notion of procreativity, “mother” in its abstract sense, reflected in the multiplication of the central form, which in Hindu temple architecture, for example, is a visual strategy used to convey the sacred or divine. The referencing of various traditions is common in Kapoor’s work, but he does this in a way that accesses themes that are larger than the specifics of culture or religion. The tension between the physical and the abstract is mirrored in the red powder that seems to dissolve the work’s mass into the floor of the gallery.

The play with polarities is also present in I, a work from a series of sculptures seemingly hewn from a rocky outcropping and punctuated by a pigmented black circle. This void seems to penetrate the rock and even the gallery floor, again collapsing the boundaries between the work and the physical space that contains it. More than an optical illusion, the effect disorients the viewer’s relationship to space and physical mass, if only for a moment. “The space contained in an object must be bigger than the object that contains it,” Kapoor explains. “My aim is to separate the object from its object-hood.”3

  1. Kapoor, interview with Joan Bakewell, BBC Radio 3, January 5, 2001. See transcript on the Doon School Web site, http://doononline.net/pages/info_features/features_spotlights/spotlights/akapoor/abbcr.htm.

  2. Kapoor, interview with Heidi Reitmaier, “Descent into Limbo,” Tate Magazine, no. 1 (September/October 2002): 92.

  3. Ibid.

Dewan, Deepali. “Anish Kapoor.” In Bits & Pieces Put Together to Present a Semblance of a Whole: Walker Art Center Collections, edited by Joan Rothfuss and Elizabeth Carpenter. Minneapolis, MN: Walker Art Center, 2005.

© 2005 Walker Art Center