Anish Kapoor, ‘Untitled’, 2010, Phillips

Property of an Important European Collector

From the Catalogue:
‘It’s what a mirrored object does to space that I think is interesting—it turns the world upside down, it spatially confuses, it makes objects unreadable. It seems to suggest that the sublime isn’t in the far distance but that there is a modern sublime that might be found in the mirrored object’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in ‘Chronology’, pp. 493-505, David Anfam, Anish Kapoor, London, 2012, p. 499).

Anish Kapoor’s Untitled is a golden, gleaming, mirrored dish. Its curve means that the world, seen from a certain distance, appears inverted. The viewer’s surroundings are perceived bathed in the warm, glowing sepia tones of the steel’s highly polished finish. Dating from 2010, Untitled employs Kapoor’s widely-recognised mirror finish, as also seen in his monumental Chicago sculpture Cloud Gate of 2004. This was a technique that he began to explore in the mid-1990s, taking his cue from his earlier polished alabaster sculptures. In Untitled and its fellow mirror-finish works, the exquisite, flawless finish allows the object itself to dissolve before us, with the reflection taking precedence, ensuring that we are incorporated and implicated within its very fabric.

Kapoor’s works have gained international recognition over a number of decades in part because of their eloquent, elegant ability to combine many layers of meaning and expression within works that appear deceptively simple. This incredible economy of means is perfectly encapsulated in Untitled, which presents the viewer with a circular, concave dish a metre in diameter. It appears to invoke the visual language of Minimalism. This extends to its challenge of the notion of the picture surface. Here, rather than a flat painting, Kapoor presents us with an ever-shifting vision of our world that is distorted through reflections, that is curved, that probes the nature of space itself. ‘There is another space which one might call “object space”, which is in front of the picture plane,’ Kapoor has explained. ‘I have worked with concave mirror space for twenty years now because concave mirror space is in front of the picture plane and it is a new kind of space and a new sublime. A modern sublime, a “now” sublime, a “here” sublime.’ (Kapoor, quoted in Donna de Salvo, ‘Anish Kapoor in Conversation’, pp. 402-11, David Anfam, Anish Kapoor, London, 2012, p. 403).

That notion of the sublime invokes the spiritual and mystical dimensions that underlie Kapoor’s works. In Untitled, our visible presence has an existential aspect, as life passes before the shining monolith. It appears to be a vision of another way of being, a mirage elusively showing the ephemerality of our own world. Meanwhile, the fact that Untitled protrudes from the wall yet presents an inviting void that is then filled with the distorted, tinted vision of our universe, hints at the theme of androgyny, of male and female, of the lingam and yoni of his native India, which itself can be seen as a parallel to yin and yang. Indeed, Untitled introduces a number of dichotomies, presenting itself as both a void and a vision of an entire universe. As Kapoor has said, ‘The more I empty out, the more there is. Emptying out is filling up’ (Anish Kapoor, quoted in David Anfam, ‘To Fathom the Abyss’, pp. 88-113, London, 2012, p. 98).
Courtesy of Phillips

Anish Kapoor, Anish Kapoor: Symphony for a Beloved Sun, Köln: Walther König, 2013, p. 198 (similar example illustrated)

Gladstone Gallery, New York
McCabe Fine Art, Stockholm
Estate of Dr Frederic S. Brandt, Miami
Phillips, London, 14 October 2015, lot 10
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

About Anish Kapoor

Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor creates elegant sculptures that combine simple materials, geometric shape, and organic form. After first establishing his reputation in the 1980s with biomorphic sculptures in limestone and other natural materials, Kapoor began to explore the theme of “the void” in large-scale stone works, some with defined insides and outsides and others that clearly delineate empty spaces. In 2006, he installed Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center, a 23-ton, three-story stainless steel sculpture that reflected the New York skyline. He described the massive work as a “non-object” because its reflective surface allowed it to disappear.

British-Indian, b. 1954, Mumbai, India, based in London, United Kingdom