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Inviting Reflection Beyond Shiny Surfaces

Gazing into the Art of Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor, is a British-Indian sculptor, famously known for his expertise in installation art and conceptual art. His penchant for rich colours and polished surfaces is reflected through his use of saturated pigments and striking architectural forms. Kapoor was immensely recognized for his biomorphic sculptures and installations; a series consisting of arrangements of abstract geometric forms coated with loose powdered pigments that spilled beyond the object itself and onto the floor or wall.

Picture from the  restoration of the  Chhatrapati Shivaji  Maharaj Vastu  Sangrahalaya Museum  (CSMVS), Mumbai

Much like his monumental creations, Anish Kapoor, the acclaimed Indian-born British artist, towers in the contemporary art world. Kapoor's work is a captivating exploration of scale, space, form, material, and our own perception. From playing with voids and reflection to gravity defying forms, Kapoor frequently plays with holes, voids, reflection, and perspective as also auto-generated structures. He has worked with materials as varied as mirrors, stone, wax, powdered pigments and PVC. His” mirror works”, sculptures fabricated from stainless steel have captivated the imagination of art enthusiasts worldwide. Beyond their intriguing shapes and shiny exteriors, Kapoor's “mirror” masterpieces beckon viewers to delve deeper, inviting them to explore the reflections they encounter.

Distorting and Manipulating Reality with Stainless Steel Sculptures

Kapoor's fascination with mirrors made from highly polished stainless steel goes beyond its mere visual appeal. He once noted, "Stainless steel is a material that has both visual and conceptual potential. Its reflective quality allows me to create art that is not just an object, but an experience." His mirror work sculptures are an embodiment of his fascination with the interplay between form and reflection, challenging viewers to question their understanding of the physical world.

One of Kapoor's most iconic reflective sculptures is "Cloud Gate,"(2004), situated in Chicago's Millennium Park. This 110-ton elliptical archway of highly polished stainless steel—nicknamed “The Bean” has captured the hearts of millions of visitors. Its mirror-like surface reflects the city's skyline and the faces of those who gather around it, creating a dynamic and ever-changing visual experience. Kapoor himself described "Cloud Gate" as "about memory" and "re-establishing a certain kind of primal, magical relationship with the sky."

View of the iconic  Royal Bombay Yacht  Club, Mumbai,  restored in 2010

However, Kapoor's mirror works extend far beyond mere reflection; they explore the material's ability to distort and manipulate reality. Consider his series of convex and concave mirrors. These deceptively simple sculptures warp and transform the viewer's image as they approach, offering a playful and somewhat disorienting experience. Kapoor is challenging us to question our own perception of self, encouraging us to see ourselves from different angles and through different lenses. As Kapoor puts it, "We never see things as they are; we see them as we are."

Text: Nandini Gandhi

Images: Courtesy Internet Resources

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