Anish Kapoor - Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Lisson Gallery, London

  • Catalogue Essay

    "The void is not silent. I have always thought of it more and more as a transitional space, and 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." (A. Kapoor in Anish Kapoor, London, Hayward Gallery, 1998, pp. 35-36)

    Anish Kapoor is renowned for his enigmatic sculptural forms that permeate physical and psychological space. The artist’s inventiveness and versatility have made him one of the most prolific and respected sculptors of his time. Throughout his oeuvre, he has explored what he sees as deep-rooted metaphysical polarities: presence and absence, being and non-being, place and non-place and the solid and the intangible.

    Kapoor's Untitled sculpture is a masterpiece of astonishing beauty and spirituality, centered on a void that is enticing and mysterious at the same time. The circular shape is timeless and universal, allowing the sculpture to transcend the material world and remain an object of nature. This is compounded by the artist's use of alabaster, which maintains the sculpture's organic structure, allowing it to be striking in its naturalness.

    The rough edges are testament to the stone's extraction from the ground whilst emphasizing the crude natural state of the work. The front of the sculpture has been gently smoothened, yet to the naked eye it still appears irregular and slightly uneven. Such deception in perceived aesthetics however, allows Kapoor to retain the alabaster's natural state with all the imperfections that are so innate to its organic quality. The luminous translucency of the alabaster enables the entity to absorb as well as disperse light. The hard material appearance is thus transformed into an elegant sculptural jewel conveying an illusion of lightness, softening the overall appearance of the work and infusing the stone with a magical quality.

    Kapoor's body of work often engages with polarities, and this work highlights his interest in the differences, and similarities, between light and dark in addition to presence and absence, tapping into elements of human psychology. In the action of carving out space within the sculptural entity, Kapoor attempts to create, quite literally, a new space in which to make art.

    "My art is upside down and inside out. I would say that to make new art, you need to make new space. The modernist space, all the great modern art, has been like the rocket, phallic, onwards and upwards. The new space is the opposite of that. It's in the gutter, it's deep, dark, inverted, it’s inside out. If you think what the space of the internet is, it's a curious non-space - it's like it's turning itself inside out because that way you can create so much more space by going in and deep. So this is, in a curious way, the future, and it links psychologically to the past…" (A. Kapoor in S. Hattenstone, "Into the Deep", The Guardian, September 23, 2006)

    The present lot mesmerizes with its natural beauty and visually transports the viewer to a realm of the unlimited and the infinite. This realm is created by the carved concave circle at the centre of the work, which acts as a vortex, engulfing and absorbing the viewer into its depth. The artist’s exploration of these themes in this particular form can be seen in further and later works such as Double Mirror, 1997-1998 (cf. Figure 1) the mirrored surface presents a distortion of the viewer and his environment questioning perceptions of reality.

    "The void has many presences ... The idea of being somehow consumed by the object, or in the non-object, in the body. 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 Germano Celant, Anish Kapoor, Milan, 1998, p. XXXV)

    The present work is a prescient example of Kapoor’s career-long interest in visual and tactile representations of the human condition and the exploration of that which lies beyond and the physical appropriation of space. Kapoor’s fascination with contrasts and parallels is especially evident here as different textures and degrees of luminosity are exalted in the craftsmanship of his work. Thus, the rugged aesthetics of the stone are manipulated by the artist transporting energy and a sense of the sublime into the work's visual and physical language.



40 x 41 x 11 in. (101.6 x 104.1 x 27.9 cm).

£500,000 - 700,000 ‡♠

Sold for £524,000

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Evening Sale
13 October 2007, 4pm