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b. 1954, India

Anish Kapoor Biography

One of the most influential sculptors of his generation, Anish Kapoor is widely recognised for his monumental public works and installations that often incorporate reflective surfaces and curvature as well as unconventional sculptural mediums like water. A preoccupation with voids, the body and the relationship between man and his surrounding environment further characterise his works.

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Emerging as a sculptor in the 1980s, Kapoor's use of pure pigment and traditional materials such as limestone and wood aligned him with a group of young artists—among them Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Antony Gormley and Shirazeh Houshiary—known as the New British Sculptors. Kapoor gained recognition for his biomorphic works, notably As if to celebrate, I discovered a mountain blooming with red flowers (1981). Created for the exhibition British Sculpture in the Twentieth Century. Part 2: Symbol and Imagination 1951–1980 (1981–2) at London's Whitechapel Gallery, the sculpture consists of three groups of geometric forms made from wood, cement and polystyrene, and covered in pure pigment that spills over the floor. Each shape references the human physique: the three-peaked mountain in red as the body; the pair of red ellipsoids as breasts; while the boat-like form, the only yellow object of the group, suggests movement. Kapoor derived the first part of the title, 'As if to celebrate', from a Haiku poem, and the rest came from a Hindu myth in which a goddess is born out of a mountain of male gods' bodies. Several of his early sculptures, seemingly rising out of the floor or wall and coated with saturated pigments, underscore his preoccupation with blood and female anatomy.

In the following decade, Kapoor's sculptures progressively grew as he began to explore the idea of the void by constructing forms that contain cavities or disappear into the floor or wall. In the sculpture Void Field (1989)—presented at the 44th Venice Biennale and for which he was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize—the top surfaces of sandstone blocks are pierced with a hole and filled with black pigment. Contrasting the mass of the blocks with the voids within them, Kapoor explored the tensions between presence and absence, being and non-being, and internal space and darkness. Kapoor later multiplied the scale of the void with Marsyas (2002)—commissioned for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern—by creating a hollow, trumpet-like structure out of red plastic membrane that extended over the monumental gallery space.

From the mid-1990s onwards, Kapoor increasingly used mirrored surfaces in his works, as in the three concave, stainless steel discs of Her Blood (1998), which are presented on the floor or on the wall and reflect their environment from different angles. A later work such as Blood Mirror (2000) similarly consists of a stainless disc, featuring red in its lacquered and highly polished surface. The simple concave shape in both works appears to be a void from a distance and becomes activated when the spectator steps closer to it, contorting reality to subvert his or her sense of perception.

Throughout Kapoor's works, there exists a sense of theatricality—one that requires audience participation to complete its experience. In conversation with Ocula Magazine in 2016, Kapoor said, 'There is something about the performative in a work, where the work almost switches itself on as you enter its space. I think it's terribly important because that's a conversation between a viewer and an object.' Enacting this performativity is his 'Non-Object' series of 'twisted' stainless steel sculptures that invite the spectator to walk around them and study the constantly morphing reflections. Similarly, Ishi's Light (2003)—an ovoid shell with a fibreglass exterior and a lacquered red interior—opens partially to allow the spectator into its space. The concave forms in both 'Non-Objects' and Ishi's Light seek to engage the participant's senses both optically by projecting distorted reflections and aurally by amplifying sound within their parameters.

Kapoor's public sculptures are celebrated for their monumental sizes and spectacular feats of design and engineering. In 2014, he created Descension, commissioned by the Public Art Fund for the Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, an unconventional sculpture made of infinitely swirling water. Like many of his other works, Descension provides an aural experience as the water spiralled in and out of the ground. ArcelorMittal Orbit—completed in 2012 for London's Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park—has become one of London's most popular attractions for its view of the city from the 115-metre-tall tower made of red tubular steel. Cloud Gate (2004)—dedicated to Chicago's Millennium Park in 2006—exemplifies Kapoor's brand of spectacle through simple forms. The 110-ton stainless steel sculpture, nicknamed 'the Bean' for its resemblance to an upturned bean, enchants the public with its seamless surface that draws both the spectator and the environment in to become a part of its perpetually shifting reflections.

Born in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, Kapoor has been living and working in London since the early 1970s, where he studied at Hornsey College of Art (1973–77) and Chelsea College of Arts (1977–78). A Turner Prize winner (1991), Kapoor has recently exhibited at Lisson Gallery, London (2017); Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2016); Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City (2016); Château de Versailles (2015); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2010); and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2008). Selected international group exhibitions include Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2014); 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009); Gwangju Biennale (2004); Shanghai Biennale (2001); Biennale de Lyon (2000); and Venice Biennale (1993, 1990, 1982). In 2009 he was the first living artist to be given a solo exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Elected a Royal Academician in 1999, Kapoor was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2003 and knighted in 2013 for his services to visual arts.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018

Anish Kapoor Featured Artworks

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1000 Names by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish Kapoor1000 Names, 1981Mixed media and pigment
Lisson Gallery Contact Gallery
Mirror (Black Mist) by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish KapoorMirror (Black Mist), 2018Stainless steel and lacquer
163 x 163 x 24.5 cm
Kukje Gallery Contact Gallery
Random Triangle Mirror by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish KapoorRandom Triangle Mirror, 2017Stainless steel and resin
150 x 150 x 19.5 cm
Lisson Gallery Contact Gallery
Split (Oriental Blue to Burple) by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish KapoorSplit (Oriental Blue to Burple), 2017Stainless steel and lacquer
88 x 88 cm
Galeria Nara Roesler Contact Gallery
Yellow Rising by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish KapoorYellow Rising, 2018Series of 7 etchings
72.5 x 96.5 cm
Paragon Contact Gallery
Untitled (Red Solid) by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish KapoorUntitled (Red Solid)Lacquered bronze
12.5 x 36 x 36 inches
Not for sale
Beyer Projects
Untitled (Blue Solid) by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish KapoorUntitled (Blue Solid), 2006Aluminium and lacquer paint
12.5 x 36 x 36 inches
Beyer Projects Contact Gallery
12 Etchings (09) by Anish Kapoor contemporary artwork
Anish Kapoor12 Etchings (09), 2007Etching
77 x 89.9 cm
Paragon Contact Gallery

Anish Kapoor Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, Lasting Impressions at Dellasposa Gallery, London
Closed
4 March–30 May 2020 Group Show Lasting Impressions Dellasposa GalleryLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Anish Kapoor, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, New York
Closed
31 October–20 December 2019 Anish Kapoor Lisson Gallery10th Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Anish Kapoor, Anish Kapoor at Lisson Gallery, New York
Closed
31 October–20 December 2019 Anish Kapoor Lisson GalleryWest 24th Street, New York

Anish Kapoor Represented By

Beyer Projects contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Beyer Projects New York
Kukje Gallery contemporary art gallery in Seoul, South Korea Kukje Gallery Busan, Seoul
Lisson Gallery contemporary art gallery in Lisson Street, London, United Kingdom Lisson Gallery East Hampton, London, New York, Shanghai
Paragon contemporary art gallery in London, United Kingdom Paragon London

Anish Kapoor In Ocula Magazine

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The Major Biennales Going Ahead in 2020 Ocula News The Major Biennales Going Ahead in 2020 London, 8 July 2020

Despite numerous cancellations and postponements, several significant biennales in Europe and Asia will take place this year.

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Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Ocula Conversation Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo By Stephanie Bailey, Turin

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Guarene and Turin, together with the Madrid Fundación, are creating a new constellation; mapping out a new geography that concretely embodies an idea of Europe based on reciprocity—between places, communities, fields of knowledge and cultures.

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One belt, one road, one  biennale: Yinchuan's stand against cultural desertification Ocula Report One belt, one road, one biennale: Yinchuan's stand against cultural desertification By Sam Gaskin, Yinchuan

Over 70 artists from 33 countries are represented in the inaugural Yinchuan Biennale, which opened amidst scandal on 9 September.

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Anish Kapoor In Related Press

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Paper work – the British Museum shows off its collection of contemporary drawings Related Press Paper work – the British Museum shows off its collection of contemporary drawings 4 November 2019, Apollo Magazine

Anish Kapoor, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread, Gerhard Richter. These may not be names that spring to mind when you think of the British Museum, but they all have work filed away in its extensive archive of prints and drawings. 'Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now' lifts a lid on a lesser-known collection at a museum renowned...

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Five Turner winners call on National Portrait Gallery to cut ties with BP Related Press Five Turner winners call on National Portrait Gallery to cut ties with BP 5 July 2019, The Guardian

Five winners of the Turner prize are demanding an end to BP's sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery, stepping up the campaign against big oil's involvement in the arts. Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread, Anish Kapoor, Gillian Wearing and Mark Wallinger are among a group of almost 80 leading artists, including winners of the BP portrait...

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Sculptor Anish Kapoor Blasts NRA’s ‘Nightmarish Vision’ Related Press Sculptor Anish Kapoor Blasts NRA’s ‘Nightmarish Vision’ 13 March 2018, Frieze

In 2017, the National Rifle Association in the US broadcast a controversial video advertisement, 'The Clenched Fist of Truth', which warns of liberal America's threat to freedom. In it, a brief scene details Anish Kapoor's 2004 steel doughnut-like sculpture Cloud Gate at Chicago's Millennium Park. Now the artist has released an open letter in...

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One of the world’s greatest sculptors warns America about the NRA Related Press One of the world’s greatest sculptors warns America about the NRA 12 March 2018, The Washington Post

Last year, the National Rifle Association released its now infamous ' The Clenched Fist of Truth ' video in which a brief clip of Anish Kapoor's sculpture ' Cloud Gate ' appeared as a stand-in for Chicago and the city's most famous recent resident, Barack Obama. As NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch chanted in a hypnotically angry voice, 'they use their...

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Anish Kapoor In Video & Audio

Installation video of Anish Kapoor: Gathering Clouds at Kukje Gallery Related Video & Audio Installation video of Anish Kapoor: Gathering Clouds at Kukje Gallery 7 October 2016, Kukje Gallery

Titled Gathering Clouds, the exhibition will showcase sculptures that reflect his mastery of formal investigation and material science. This will be his third exhibition at the gallery following previous shows in 2003 and 2008. Spanning two gallery spaces, K1 and K3, the exhibit will include two unique yet related series that together further...

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Anish Kapoor, 'Descension' at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano Related Video & Audio Anish Kapoor, 'Descension' at Galleria Continua, San Gimignano 30 June 2015, Galleria Continua

Internationally acclaimed as one of the most significant contemporary artists, Anish Kapoor returns to Italy with Descension, an exhibition project conceived specially for the former cinema and theatre space of Galleria Continua in San Gimignano. The heart of the show is the installation in the stalls area, Descension, from which...

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