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  • Provenance

    Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia

  • Catalogue Essay

    Exploring the fine line between subject matter and content in his art, Anish Kapoor marries simple, elemental materials such as marble, aluminum, petroleum jelly, and pigment with basic geometric forms to create his spiritually transcendent paintings and sculptures.  Stylistically an exercise in understatement, his work has become universally recognizable for its saturated and organic colors, sensuously refined surfaces and skins, and its powerful simplicity of form, often resulting in elegant optical illusions.  Kapoor’s content is enigmatic, simultaneously using the languages of Formalism and Minimalism while evading their art historical connotations and critiques entirely. In his words “content arises out of certain seemingly formal considerations, considerations…about form, about material, about context -and that when that subject matter is sufficiently far away, something else occurs - maybe it's the role of the artist then, as I see it, to pursue, and that's something that one might call content.”
    In the mid-1990s, Kapoor became increasingly fascinated with the notion of the void or concavity, playing with the powerful tension between positive and negative space.  Many of his sculptures since seem to recede into the distance, disappear into the ground or distort the space around them.  Speaking on the subject, Kapoor suggests that “the void is not silent.  I have always thought of it more and more as a transitional space, an in between space.  It’s very much to do with time.  It’s a space of becoming something that dwells in the presence of the work that allows it, or forces it, not to be what it states in the first instance”  (Anish Kapoor in Anish Kapoor, London Hayward Gallery, 1998 pp. 35-36). Frequently, it is the presence of this absence or “void” which acts as the transformative element in his work, converting the medium of stone, steel, glass or plaster into a work of art.  Often these voids manifest themselves in the shape of a circle, ellipse or hemispheric concavities.  In Untitled (Mirror), Kapoor successfully manipulates space using only the simplest designs to confuse our senses through its reflective and manipulative relationship with light.  The work does not end at its rounded edges but instead extends beyond into our spatial and spiritual existence visually, palpably and audibly shaping our experience of the work.
    Kapoor’s sculpture not only transforms many of the spaces in which it inhabits but also demonstrates transformative abilities on the media itself.  In this piece, weighty stainless steel becomes light and luminous in his hands and the disk seems to float on the wall in defiance of normal laws of gravity, matter and light.  The work confronts the impenetrable darkness of his earlier void series which created black, cave-like vacancies in various spaces, instead using Untitled (Mirror) to reflect all light not absorb it.
    Kapoor’s geometric forms are not without their real-world archetypes and the circle, omnipresent in his oeuvre, suggests the important Hindu iconography of the Bindu, interpreted as zero, drop or seed.  The Bindu, or circle, is a central point representing concentrated energy and is seen as the point or genesis of creation as well as a focal point for meditation, immortalized in age old South Asian meditative aids such as yantras or mandalas.  Kapoor, born in Mumbai, often incorporates ideas of non-being and non-duality common to both Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions found throughout India and Asia.  In this work, the hi-gloss reflective surface of the lens both absorbs and reflects light, capturing and distorting the reality around it.  In this way, the viewer’s eye is drawn into and held by the work becoming a contemporary version of these ancient meditative aids. Kapoor’s concavities also share obvious formal similarities with birth and pregnancy, as both, simultaneously, reveal their state of being while concealing the absolute nature of it. 
    Through his sparse and codified language, Kapoor seeks to understand and communicate ideas on the human condition.  The artist successfully draws attention to our own humanity by creating works which play with the viewer’s sense of space, time and other physical realities. Personally, the artists states that “I have always been drawn to a notion of fear, towards a sensation of vertigo, of falling, of being pulled inwards.  This is a notion of the sublime which reverses the picture of union with light.  This is an inversion, a sort of turning inside-out.  This is a vision of darkness.” (Anish Kapoor quoted in German Cleant, Anish Kapoor, Milan 1998, p. xxxv) 


Untitled (Mirror)

Stainless steel.
49 ½ x 34 x 10 5/8 in.(125.5 x 86.2 x 27 cm).
This work is signed and dated “Anish Kapoor 2003” on the reverse.  The work is accompanied by a gallery label signed and dated "Anish Kapoor 2004".

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $782,500

Contemporary Art Part I

13 Nov 2008, 7pm
New York