Anish Kapoor - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Thursday, May 17, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Lisson Gallery, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    “I’m after that sort of metaphysical looking, looking not at the object, but through it, beyond it.” – Anish Kapoor

    A quintessential example of Anish Kapoor’s iconic series of reflective concave dishes, Untitled, 2011, pulls the viewer into a mesmerizing force-field. Bathed in a deep red, Kapoor’s favored color since the 1980s, the lacquered stainless steel disc gives rise to constantly shifting optical illusions as the viewer moves around the work: from a distance, the disc projects back a distorted and inverted reflection of its surroundings, which grows in size until, as soon as one passes a certain focal length, it suddenly explodes as if seen through a magnifying glass. While the viewer’s reflection at that very point is returned to its normal orientation, anything reflected from a distance remains inverted. The astonishing acoustic effects that arise when standing within the structure simultaneously heighten the sense of disorientation engendered by the shifting perspectives. Offering a vivid multi-sensory experience, Untitled perfectly encapsulates the dynamic interplay between the phenomenological, the perceptual, and the psychological that lies at the heart of Kapoor’s acclaimed practice.

    Untitled demonstrates Kapoor’s over 20-year commitment to probing the formal and metaphysical possibilities of reflective, concave surfaces. As Kapoor recalled of the watershed moment of discovering the reflective concave form in the mid-1990s, “I stumbled upon the idea that one could make an object that was concave. Suddenly this was not just a camouflaged object…That felt like a real discovery. What happened was that it wasn’t just a mirror on a positive form - we have had that experience from Brancusi onwards. This seemed to be a different thing, a different order or object from a mirrored exterior” (Anish Kapoor, quoted in Hossein Amirsadeghi, Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios, London, 2011, p. 436). While Kapoor has placed concave dishes in rural, urban and architectural environments – essentially bringing reflections of the sky onto the earth with these so-called Sky Mirrors, Untitled is exemplary of the concave discs Kapoor has been creating since the late-1990s that are placed against or on a wall within gallery settings and other interior environments.

    While Kapoor has explored a range of colored lacquers in his concave dishes, the color red imbues Untitled with an unparalleled physical, psychological and visceral presence. Throughout his practice, Kapoor has consistently returned to the color red – from early pigment sculptures such as Mother as Mountain 1985, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, to his ongoing My Red Homeland series of large-scale wax installations, to stainless steel discs such as Her Blood, 1998, Tate Modern, London, or to his most recent resin and silicon paintings and sculptures. As Kapoor explained, “Red is a color of the's obviously the color of blood and body. I have a feeling that the darkness that it reveals is a much deeper and darker darkness than that of blue or black... Red has a very powerful blackness. This overt color, this open and visually beckoning color, also associates itself with a dark interior world. And that’s the real reason I’m interested in it” (Anish Kapoor, quoted in “In Conversation with Marcellon Dantas”, 2006, Anish Kapoor, online).

    Striving to complicate conventional notions of the art object, Kapoor allows for the world around his reflective discs to become part of the work itself. Kapoor’s mirrored surfaces do not just reflect the world; rather, they explore the constant flux of reality. Untitled invites the viewer to enter a liminal space of continuous becoming – powerfully suspending our experience of the quotidian as the realms of finite and the infinite, inside and outside, depth and surface poetically dissolve.



signed and dated "Anish Kapoor 2011" on the reverse
stainless steel, lacquer
60 1/2 x 60 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (153.7 x 153.7 x 36.2 cm.)
Executed in 2011.

$550,000 - 750,000 

Sold for $735,000

Contact Specialist
Amanda Lo Iacono
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1278

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 17 May 2018