Kapoor, Anish

The work of Anish Kapoor has confounded the descriptions of writers, viewers and critics alike for decades—only because his forms are so elemental and his apparent eschewing of the popular idiom current in contemporary art at the time he became visible.

Anish Kapoor was born in Mumbai, India, in 1954. In the early 1980s, he gained international recognition as a sculptor showing a new, unusual style. Though he has lived and worked in London, he frequently visits India and has acknowledged that his art is inspired by both Western and Eastern cultures. His artistic influences include: Mantegna, Beuys, Barnett Newman and Yves Klein.

Simple, curved forms, usually monochromatic and brightly colored, define Kapoor’s aesthetic. The intention is to engage the viewer, evoking mystery through the works’ dark cavities, awe through their size and simple beauty, tactility through their inviting surfaces and fascination through their reflective facades.

His early pieces rely on powder pigment to cover the works and the floor around them. This practice was inspired by the mounds of brightly colored pigment in the markets and temples of India. His later 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). His most recent works are mirror-like, reflecting or distorting the viewer and surroundings.

In 2001, Sky Mirror, a large mirror piece that reflects the sky and surroundings, was commissioned in Nottingham. In 2004, Cloud Gate, a 110-ton stainless steel sculpture, was unveiled at Millennium Park in Chicago. In the fall of 2006, another large mirror sculpture, also entitled Sky Mirror, was shown in Rockefeller Center, New York. Soon to be completed is a memorial to the British victims of 9/11 in New York. In 2008, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston exhibited Kapoor’s first U.S. mid-career survey. Kapoor represented Britain in the 1990 Venice Biennale, and the following year he won the Turner Prize. Increasingly, Kapoor’s recent work blurs the boundaries between architecture and art.