Anish Kapoor - New Now New York Wednesday, September 27, 2023 | Phillips

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  • The polished and lacquered steel surface of Anish Kapoor’s Untitled flips its viewer upside down, drenching the mirrored self and surroundings in emerald green light. The perfectly circular and smooth work acts like a portal into another dimension; time seems to slow down as the viewer encounters their distorted green doppelgänger. Created in 2011, the year between Kapoor’s major exhibitions at The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi in 2010, and the Grand Palais, Paris in 2012, Untitled is a colorful take on Kapoor’s career-long fascination with concave mirrors and the sublime.


     “I have rarely worked with straight mirrors. What I am really interested in is concavity.”
    —Anish Kapoor


    To Kapoor, concave mirrors are an underutilized artistic resource, and he explores their potential throughout his oeuvre, from the reflective surfaces of massive sculptures like Cloud Gate, 2006, to the intimate scale of Untitled. As he explained in 2019, “If you put [a concave mirror] on the wall, they in a way act like a painting,” creating a “really curious other reality” for the viewer to find themselves in.i  Generations of artists before Kapoor have seized onto the spiritual aspect of this “really curious other reality” that one finds in a painting, from the religious transcendence of European Christian art (including Kapoor’s favorite painting, Christ’s Descent into Limbo, 1492, by Andrea Mantegna), to the more secular sublime of Romantic landscape artists like Caspar David Friedrich. Paintings of mirrors, too, have a long art history of provoking contemplation in viewers, as a common symbol of vanity, or vanitas.


    Caspar David Friedrich, Felsenlandschaft im Elbsandsteingebirge, 1822-23. Belvedere Museum, Vienna.

    Just as looking at a painting can be a transformative experience, transporting the viewer to another place, or plane of consciousness, Kapoor finds such sublime emotional depths in mirrors. “The interesting thing about a polished surface to me,” he says, “is that it is really perfect enough something happens— it literally ceases to be physical; it levitates; it does something else. What happens with concave surfaces is, in my view, completely beguiling. They cease to be physical and it is that ceasing to be physical that I’m after.”ii


    In Untitled, the perfect, polished surface is made into art by the reflection of the world around it—as Kapoor says, the work is not physical, but extant in the transient reflections it captures. Untitled holds fleeting moments of time in its surface, and transforms them, upside-down and bright green, into something new. This metamorphosis is nothing short of sublime for Kapoor: while, for him, “the traditional sublime is the matte surface, deep and absorbing,” the shiny surface of Untitled is “a modern sublime, which is fully, reflecting, absolutely present, and returns the gaze.”iii



    i Anish Kapoor, quoted in “Anish Kapoor In conversation with Marcello Dantas,” in Surge, 2019, online.

    ii Kapoor, quoted in Nicholas Baume, Anish Kapoor, exh. cat., Institute of Contemporary Arts, Boston, 2008, p. 53.

    iii Kapoor, quoted in Heidi Reitmaier, “Anish Kapoor in conversation with Heidi Reitmaier,” Tate Magazine, July 2007, online.

    • Provenance

      Lisson Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011

Property from a Private American Collection



signed and dated "Anish Kapoor 2011" on the reverse
stainless steel and lacquer
diameter 55 7/8 in. (141.9 cm)
Executed in 2011.

Full Cataloguing

$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $469,900

Contact Specialist

Avery Semjen
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now Sale 
T +1 212 940 1207

New Now

New York Auction 27 September 2023