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Anish Kapoor
HomeArtistsAnish Kapoor

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Anish Kapoor

Statement:anish kapoor

"I want to develop a new consciousness and approach to the idea of unity between body and soul, between body and soul and cosmos... I want to demonstrate the unbelievable construction of our planet, point out its sources of energy and how, with a new consciousness, we can learn to rearrange our body and soul within this structure."


 Anish Kapoor is one of the most influential sculptors of his generation. Born in Bombay (12 March 1954), he has lived and worked in London since the early 70's. Kapoor sees his work as being engaged with deep-rooted metaphysical polarities; presence and absence, being and non-being, place and non-place and the solid and the intangible. 

Throughout Kapoor's sculptures his fascination with darkness and light is apparent; the translucent quality of the resin works, the absorbent nature of the pigment, the radiant glow of alabaster and the fluid reflections of stainless steel and water. Through this interplay between form and light, Kapoor aspires to evoke sublime experiences, which address primal physical and psychological states.


Collaboration with illy

List of Collections:
The first collaboration (and only one so far) between Anish Kapoor and illy is dated May 31st 2011. Galleria Continua and illycaffè presented Ascension, a major installation by Anish Kapoor, as a collateral event of the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. Organized by Arte Continua and curated by Lorenzo Fiaschi, the project has been made possible by Galleria Continua and illycaffè, with the collaboration of the Giorgio Cini Foundation and the Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore. As part of this project set of illy Collection Cups was released.


Early Life

Anish Kapoor was born in Bombay, India to a Jewish mother whose family emigrated from Baghdad when she was a few months old. “She had an Indian-Jewish upbringing. Her father, his grandfather, was the cantor in the synagogue in Pune. At the time, the Jewish community in Mumbai was quite large, mostly consisting of Baghdadi Jews. His father, from a Hindu Punjabi family, was a hydrographer in the Indian Navy.
Kapoor spent his early years first in Mumbai, and then in Dehra Dun at the Doon School. In 1971-1973, he traveled to Israel with one of his two brothers, initially living on a kibbutz. He began to study electrical engineering, but had trouble with mathematics and quit after six months. In Israel, he decided to become an artist. In 1973, he left for Britain to attend Hornsey College of Art and Chelsea School of Art and Design. There he found a role model in Paul Neagu, an artist who provided a meaning to what he was doing. Kapoor went on to teach at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1979.


Artistic Career

Anish Kapoor became known in the 1980s for his geometric or biomorphic sculptures made using simple materials such as granite, limestone, marble, pigment and plaster. These early sculptures are frequently simple, curved forms, usually monochromatic and brightly colored, using powder pigment to define and permeate the form. "While making the pigment pieces, it occurred to me that they all form themselves out of each other. So I decided to give them a generic title, A Thousand Names, implying infinity, a thousand being a symbolic number. The powder works sat on the floor or projected from the wall. The powder on the floor defines the surface of the floor and the objects appear to be partially submerged, like icebergs. That seems to fit inside the idea of something being partially there." Such use of pigment characterized his first high profile exhibit as part of the New Sculpture exhibition at the Hayward Gallery London in 1978.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, he was acclaimed for his explorations of matter and non-matter, specifically evoking the void in both free-standing sculptural works and ambitious installations. Many of his sculptures seem to recede into the distance, disappear into the ground or distort the space around them. In 1987, he began working in stone. His later stone works are made of solid, quarried stone, many of which have carved apertures and cavities, often alluding to, and playing with dualities (earth-sky, matter-spirit, lightness-darkness, visible-invisible, conscious-unconscious, male-female and body-mind). "In the end, I’m talking about myself. And thinking about making nothing, which I see as a void. But then that’s something, even though it really is nothing."
Since 1995, he has worked with the highly reflective surface of polished stainless steel. These works are mirror-like, reflecting or distorting the viewer and surroundings. Over the course of the following decade Kapoor's sculptures ventured into more ambitious manipulations of form and space. He produced a number of large works, including Taratantara (1999), a 35 meter tall piece installed in the Baltic Flour Mills in Gateshead, England before renovation began there and Marsyas (2002). if you look at the installation from the front it appears divided into two sections, while if you look at it from the sides it creates a tangible contact between the Royal Palace and the basilica of St Francis of Paola.


Two imposing towers support a giant red PVC sheet, whose texture resembles velvety rubber; they cover a large surface (50 meters long, 35 meters high and large) and mark off a “place” that is both a physical and a psychic place and has two openings: one facing Monte di Dio, the other facing the sea. The end result is stunning and fascinating at the same time; the work lends itself to countless interpretations, and numerous analogies: it calls to mind a bridge, a tunnel, an enormous bow tie, a kite, a giant kaleidoscope. With rare poetic intensity Kapoor changes the face of the square dramatically using the technique of a “painter that works as sculptor” (as Kapoor defines himself).

.A stone arch by Kapoor is permanently placed at the shore of a lake in Lødingen in northern Norway. In 2000, one of Kapoor's works, Parabolic Waters, consisting of rapidly rotating colored water, was shown outside the Millennium Dome in London. In 2001, Sky Mirror, a large mirror piece that reflects the sky and surroundings, was commissioned for a site outside the Nottingham Playhouse.
In 2006, Cloud Gate sculpture referred to as The Bean, stainless steel sculpture with a mirror finish, has been permanently installed in Millennium Park in Chicago . Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its bean-like shape.


Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).
Said to have been inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture's surface reflects and distorts the city's skyline. Visitors are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate's 12-foot (3.7 m) high arch.

In the autumn of 2006, a second 10 meter Sky Mirror, was installed at Rockefeller Center, In the same year ,with collaboration of author Salman Rushdie, Kapoor for the first time conceived a mesmeric sculpture consisting of two bronze boxes conjoined with red wax and inscribed around the outside with the first two paragraphs of Rushdie's text; "Blood Relations" or an "Interrogation of the Arabian Nights" .

The use of red wax is also part of his repertoire, evocative of flesh, blood and transfiguration. In 2007, he showed Svayambh (which translated from Sanskrit means 'self-generated'), a 1.5 meter block of red wax that moved on rails through the Nantes Musée des Beaux-Arts as part of the Biennale estuaries; this piece was shown again in a major show at the Haus Der Kunst in Munich and in 2009 at the Royal Academy in London.

Some his work blurs the boundaries between architecture and art. In 2008, Kapoor created Memory in Berlin and New York for the Guggenheim Foundation, his first piece in Cor-Ten, which is formulated to produce a protective coating of rust. Weighing 24 tons and made up of 156 parts, it calls to mind Richard Serra’s huge rusty steel works, which also invite viewers into perceptually confounding interiors. 
In 2009, Kapoor became the first Guest Artistic Director of Brighton Festival. Kapoor installed four sculptures during the festival; Sky Mirror at Brighton Pavilion gardens, C-Curve at The Chattri, Blood Relations (a collaboration with author Salman Rushdie) and 1000 Names, both at Fabrica. He also created a large site-specific work titled 'The Dismemberment of Jeanne d’Arc' and a performance-based installation: ‘Imagined Monochrome’. The public response was so overwhelming that police had to re-divert traffic around C-Curve at the Chattri and exercise crowd control.
In September 2009, Kapoor was the first living artist to have a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. As well as surveying his career to date it also included new works. On display were 'Non-Object' mirror works, cement sculptures previously unseen, and 'Shooting into the Corner' cannon that fires pellets of wax into the corner of the gallery. Previously shown at MAK, Vienna in January 2009, it is a work with dramatic presence and associations and also continues Kapoor's interest in the self made object, as the wax builds up on the walls and floor of the gallery the work slowly oozes out its form. In the same year, Kapoor created the permanent, site-specific work 'Earth Cinema' for Pollino National Park, the largest national park in Italy, as part of the project ArtePollino – Another South. Kapoor's work, Cinema di Terra (Earth Cinema), is a 45m long, 3m wide and 7m deep cut into the landscape made from concrete and earth. People can enter from both sides and walk along it viewing the earth void within.
In 2010, Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem was commissioned and installed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The sculpture is described as a "16-foot tall polished-steel hourglass" and it "reflects and reverses the Jerusalem sky and the museum's landscape, a likely reference to the city's duality of celestial and earthly, holy and profane." 
In spring 2011, Kapoor's work, "Leviathan", was the annual "Monumenta" installation for the Grand Palais in Paris.

Kapoor described the work as: "A single object, a single form, a single color... My ambition is to create a space within a space that responds to the height and luminosity of the Nave at the Grand Palais. Visitors will be invited to walk inside the work, to immerse themselves in color, and it will, I hope, be a contemplative and poetic experience".
In 2011, Kapoor exhibited 'Dirty Corner' at the Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan. Fully occupying the site's 'cathedral' space, the work consists of a huge steel volume, 60 meters long and 8 meters high, that visitors enter. Inside, they gradually lose their perception of space, as it gets progressively darker and darker until there is no light, forcing people to use their other senses to guide them through the space. The entrance of the tunnel is goblet-shaped, featuring an interior and exterior surface that is circular, making minimal contact with the ground. Over the course of the exhibition, the work will be progressively covered by some 160 cubic meters of earth by a large mechanical device, forming a sharp mountain of dirt in which the tunnel appears to be running through.
Also in June, Kapoor's "Orbit" was announced as the winning proposal for an artwork for the 2012 Olympic Games.
orbit by george rex
The Greater London Authority selected Kapoor's sculpture from a shortlist of five artists as the permanent artwork for the Olympic Park. At 115 meters tall, Orbit will be the tallest sculpture in the U.K. 

When asked if engagement with people and places is the key to successful public art, Kapoor said: "I’m thinking about the mythical wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Tower of Babel. It’s as if the collective will comes up with something that has resonance on an individual level and so becomes mythic. I can claim to take that as a model for a way of thinking. Art can do it, and I’m going to have a damn good go. I want to occupy the territory, but the territory is an idea and a way of thinking as much as a context that generates objects. ”


Major Collections

Kapoor's work is collected worldwide, notably by the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Tate Modern in London; Fondazione Prada in Milan; the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the Guggenheim in Bilbao; the De Pont Foundation in the Netherlands; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, Japan; and the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.


Upcoming/Current Performances

  • June 16, 2012 – November 4, 2012 - Anish Kapoor- “Flashback” Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, England. Flashback is a major series of touring exhibitions from the Art Council collection , Southbank Centre.
  • May 19, 2012 – September 30, 2012 PinchukArtCentre Kyiv, Ukraine. Solo exhibition includes a selection of the artist’s most iconic works together with a new monumental steel work created specifically for the PinchukArtCentre.

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