Back to main page

Anish Kapoor



“I don’t wish to make sculpture about form. I wish to make sculpture about belief, or about passion, about experience that is outside of material concerns.”

The English artist Anish Kapoor (born 1954 in Mumbai) is among the most prolific sculptors of the 21st century. Following his studies at the Chelsea School of Art in London he had his breakthrough with sculptures of biomorphic shapes, which he covered with radiant pigments of the primary colours (1000 Names, 1978-1980). Since then he has developed a multi-faceted œuvre that incorporates numerous materials such as stone, steel, glass and terracotta.

Strongly influenced by a trip to India in 1979 and due to his contemplation of Hindu mythology Kapoor combines the spiritual traditions of his home country with those of the West. Showing a certain closeness to Minimal Art or Yves Klein, Kapoor’s core topics are transcendence and the sublime as well as the pureness of form and colour. For Kapoor, the creative interaction of opposing poles is elemental: positive and negative forms, contrasting colours, and the idea of the material and immaterial.

Kapoor’s multiple award winning work has been exhibited worldwide since the early 1970’s. In 1990, Kapoor represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale and was awarded the Premio Duemila. He received the Turner Prize in 1991. One of the highlights of the documenta IX exhibition was Kapoor’s room Descent into Limbo (1992). In recent years Kapoor has also increasingly created monumental sculptures and installations (Cloud Gate, Millennium Park Chicago, 2004-2006).

The work Buco from 1998 stands out due to it’s unusual wall installation. The piece is positioned at the ideal height for the viewer which for Kapoor is 170 cm from the ground to the middle of the sculpture. As though it were a painting rather than a sculpture, the viewer experiences the work frontally. For Kapoor, „that is the function of all iconic art; one cannot get around the back of God. I think that is a beautiful idea.“

Due to its concave, spiral-like shape and chrome-plated surface, the work receives a spatial dimension and unimagined depth. The observer’s view is irresistibly drawn to the sculpture. Kapoor wants to lure the viewer to that specific edge, „to the edge of the cliff and to do what Apollinaire suggests, which is to push over the edge and then you fall.“

Since the middle of the 1980’s, Kapoor has examined the inside of the form, its pneuma.  He focuses on the transfiguration and the containedness of one form in another. Kapoor connects this approach to Indian mythology in which certain objects manifest themselves, “They make themselves. The curious thing about these objects is that they are made – but their mythology is that they are not made. It’s a very wonderful idea about the presence of form in the world.“

Back to main page