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Private Collection, Europe
Committed to an unparalleled investigation into new forms of space, Anish Kapoor’s thirty-year artistic exploration has resulted in an extraordinarily varied body of work. Making use of a vast array of mediums ranging from colour pigments to reflective stainless steel, a thematic consistency has prevailed throughout Kapoor’s career: space as the only truly abstract quantity. Untitled contributes to the artist’s personal language of abstraction and takes on a particular significance as it portrays a fragmented reality of its contextual space.
A round mirror of stainless steel, Untitled radiates with its hundreds of fragmented and reflective hexagonal shapes. Viewers are confronted with a curved surface that delicately arcs inwards, causing their own reflection to be inverted upside down. This spatial model, defying both the deep pictorial space of the Renaissance perspective and the flatness of modernist abstract painting, renders the status of the present object uncertain. For Kapoor, ‘space is perhaps one of the only truly abstract entities. One of the things about the mirrored objects, and especially the forms that are inside-out, is that they seem to be very active, to be in various states of becoming’ (Anish Kapoor in conversation with Nicholas Baume, exh. cat. Anish Kapoor: Past Present Future, 2008, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, p. 52).
Working with highly-polished surfaces is the result of a natural evolution from Kapoor’s manipulation of pigments and assessment of voids. Kapoor explains that his works prior to the mirror series ‘dealt with the idea that deep space is one of the things that seem to confuse the status of the object. At some point in the mid-90s I began to wonder if mirror-polished objects had the same spatial qualities’ (ibid., pp. 51-2). However, unlike his experiments with the representations of a void, Kapoor’s mirrors instead directly engage with the viewer’s spatial reality.
Untitled is a prime example of Kapoor’s greatly varied and conceptual oeuvre, with which he has succeeded in expanding the language of contemporary art in new and unexpected directions. Today Kapoor has established himself at the forefront of contemporary sculpture as he continues solidifying his prolific career. As Partha Mitter concludes when reflecting on the artist, ‘Kapoor’s visionary engagement with his material, his soaring artistic ambition, his extraordinary manipulation of scale from intimate objects to vast alterations of architectural sites, his use of materials from hard-edged polished metal to soft Vaseline, the constant play of paradoxes in his pieces – these elements make his work some of the most exciting in the last decades’ (Partha Mitter, ‘History, Memory and Anish Kapoor’, exh. cat. Anish Kapoor: Past Present Future, 2006, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, p. 109).
London Auction 8 March 2017 5pm GMT