Untitled

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Arrestingly intriguing and ever-fluctuating in appearance, Untitled, 2005, exemplifies Anish Kapoor’s continued exploration of reflection and distortion within his series of circular concave mirrors. With a diameter of just under one and a half metres and a surface of polished stainless steel, the work invites the viewer to project their appearance into its reflective façade and, through playing with notions of perspective, produces an impression of continuous space. The resulting image shifts with each new movement and is ceaselessly inverted, presenting an upturned world that is aggrandised, minimised or warped in places. Providing dizzyingly contorted visuals within a familiar yet remote reality, Untitled touches on metaphysical polarities such as presence and absence, being and nonbeing, solidity and intangibility. Other examples of reflective mirrors have flourished in Kapoor's practice in varying dimensions, the largest of which have been exposed in eminent public spaces such as the Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham, Rockefeller Center, New York, and the Museu Serralves, Porto. These iterations were not fixed against a wall but elevated from the ground and directed upwards, so as to reflect the sky’s meandering moods.

    Kapoor commenced his elegant and eloquent series of concave mirrors in the mid-1990s, and rapidly gained international recognition henceforth. Defined by an incredible economy of means and combining layers of meaning within a deceptively simple façade, Untitled captures the crux of the artist’s mission. It invokes the visual language of Minimalism whilst conjuring the phenomenological qualities of experiential arts, namely the trailblazing photographs of Hungarian artist László Moholy-Nagy, who equally played on light and perspective to render his singular vision of space. Through an adroit fusion of the work, the viewer and the environment, Kapoor creates a visceral image that is perpetually in flux. Here, rather than attending to the flatness of painting or photography, Kapoor opts for an ever-shifting vision of the world distorted through reflections, and probing the nature of space itself. Oscillating between sensual beauty and otherworldly dematerialisation, Untitled demonstrates Kapoor’s capacity to invoke notions straddling the tangible and the spiritual. As expressed by the artist; ‘I have worked with concave mirror space for twenty years now because concave mirror space is in front of the picture plane and it is a new kind of space and a new sublime. A modern sublime, a “now” sublime, a “here” sublime’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Donna de Salvo, ‘Anish Kapoor in Conversation’, Anish Kapoor, London, 2012, p. 403).

    The uncanny sense of limitlessness produced by Untitled’s reflection recalls Kapoor’s interest in the analogy between the idea of the sublime in the artistic tradition and the cosmic concept of a parallel universe. ‘The spatial questions [the mirrored object] seemed to ask were not about deep space but about present space, which I began to think about as a new sublime. If the traditional sublime is in deep space, then this is proposing that the contemporary sublime is in front of the picture plane, not beyond it’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Anish Kapoor: Past Present Future, exh. cat., The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2008, p. 52). When the viewer peers into its dizzying surface, Untitled subsumes the material body into an illusion of immateriality – an answer to an unspoken question, the embodiment of spiritual self-perception realised. ‘A void object is not an empty object; its potential for generative possibility is ever present. It is pregnant. The void returns the gaze. Its blank face forces us to fill in content and meaning. Emptiness becomes fullness. Things are turned upside down…The art I love, the art I make, I hope, celebrates the sensual while always knowing that decay is close’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in ‘Blood and Light. In Conversation with Julia Kristeva’, 2015, Anish Kapoor, online).

    Catalysing the surrounding environment in a reflective vortex, Untitled symbolises the essence of sight and perception as plane, space and image. As art historian Victoria Turvey Sauron wrote on Kapoor’s mirrored works, ‘This all-surface is both fascinatingly beautiful and profoundly threatening, profoundly implicating the subject’s gaze while threatening its very coherence, by suggesting that both subject and gaze are being sucked inside an interior which cannot be known or imagined, the sense of surface is so overwhelming’ (Victoria Turvey Sauron, The Sacred and the Feminine, New York, 2009, p. 196).

33

Property from a Private Collection, Switzerland

Untitled

signed and dated 'Anish Kapoor 2005' on the reverse
stainless steel
140 x 140 x 31 cm (55 1/8 x 55 1/8 x 12 1/4 in.)
Executed in 2005.

Estimate
£400,000 - 600,000 ‡ ♠

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Rosanna Widén

Director, Senior Specialist
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

44 20 7318 4060
rwiden@phillips.com

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2019