Anish Kapoor - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Tuesday, October 20, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Overview


    Spiralling from the ground upwards, Blade forms part of a body of mirrored works that Anish Kapoor began in the mid-1990s. The sculpture was first exhibited alongside other intimately scaled works that he made and exhibited together at the exhibition Anish Kapoor: WHITEOUT, at Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, just before the summer of 2004. From soft and undulating to straight and sharp, these enigmatic, smaller sculptures continued the artist’s investigation of space and geometry as malleable terrains devoid of formulaic constrictions. That same year, Kapoor was working on his monumental public sculpture Cloud Gate which now gracefully occupies Chicago’s Millenium Park and reflects the plaza’s passersby. Conceived in intimate, domestic dimensions, Blade’s ever-fluctuating form and reflective quality similarly upturn the viewers’ traditional perception of their surroundings. The amorphous sculpture invites the viewer to enter a liminal space of continuous becoming – powerfully suspending our experience of the everyday as the realms of depth and surface, the finite and the infinite, poetically dissolve.


    Installation view of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millenium Park. Image: Getty Images.
    Installation view of Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate in Chicago's Millenium Park.
    Image: Getty Images. 

    Space and the Sublime


    The uncanny sense of limitlessness produced by Blade’s reflection denotes Kapoor’s interest in the analogy between the idea of the sublime 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’, Kapoor explained.i When the viewer peers into its dizzying surface, Blade subsumes all reflected elements into an illusion of immateriality. Ceaselessly distorting the audience's perception of their environments, Kapoor articulates materiality in a way that allows a simultaneous enaction of motion and staticity, form and void – demonstrating his solidified capacity to activate negative space, and spur an ‘experience that is outside of material concern’.ii


    On What It Means to Make an Object



    iAnish Kapoor, quoted in Anish Kapoor: Past Present Future, exh. cat., The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, 2008, p. 52.

    iiAnish Kapoor, quoted in Germano Celant, Anish Kapoor, Milan 1998, n.p.

    • Provenance

      Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004

    • Exhibited

      New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Anish Kapoor: WHITEOUT, 8 May - 25 June 2004, p. 65 (exhibited and illustrated, pp. 4, 25-27, 34, 73)

    • Literature

      David Anfam, ed., Anish Kapoor, London, 2009, pl. c, pp. 502-503 (another example illustrated)
      Stephanie Dieckvoss, Rosalind Furness and Melissa Larner, eds., Anish Kapoor: Turning the World Upside Down in Kensington Gardens, exh. cat., Serpentine Gallery, London, 2011, p. 140 (illustrated, pp. 135, 139)

Property from an Important American Collection



stainless steel
55 x 106 x 106 cm (21 5/8 x 41 3/4 x 41 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2004, this work is number 1 from an edition of 3 plus 1 artist's proof.

Full Cataloguing

£60,000 - 80,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £85,680

Contact Specialist

Kate Bryan
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+44 20 7318 4026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 20 October 2020