Void IV is an exquisite example of Anish Kapoor’s ongoing investigation into the possibilities of spatial manipulation. Conceived in 1989, the present work was created at a time when Kapoor was experimenting with a range of different media and forms, and the result brilliantly epitomizes the sculptor’s exploration of alternative space and the innovative use of materials. Perhaps a forerunner to the iconic mirrored voids that Kapoor is most famously known for, Void IV is fashioned from fiberglass and pigment. Unlike the reflective surfaces of the later counterparts, the present work carries a velvety texture and dark, mysterious hues that induce the sensation of looking into an abyss.
The manipulation of space has been one of Kapoor’s primary concerns throughout his career to date, and the artist has sought to investigate the non-material possibilities of emptiness and the potential of the void through his diverse body of work. The space contained within the circle invites associations with the idea of the void, a concept that has been of abiding interest for Kapoor throughout his career to date: “The void is not silent. I have always thought of it more as a transitional space, an in-between space. It’s very much to do with time. I have always been interested as an artist in how one can somehow look again for that very first moment of creativity where everything is possible and nothing has actually happened. It’s a space of becoming… something that dwells in the presence of the work… that allows it or forces it not to be what it states it is in the first instance.” (cited in a conversation with Homi K. Bhabha in Exh. Cat, London, Hayward Gallery, Anish Kapoor, 1998, p. 35) This alteration of perspective encourages the onlooker to view the world around them afresh, imbuing the everyday with a sense of the marvelous and fantastical. By placing themselves in front of Void IV, viewers are drawn to the epicenter of the concavity and become engulfed in the endless darkness emanating from the work, and such interaction between sculpture and viewer is an integral part of Kapoor’s works.
There is a sense of timelessness and continuity inherent within Void IV that induces a feeling of meditation and contemplation within the onlooker. Truly a pinnacle of Kapoor’s sculptural oeuvre, the present sculpture is a glorious evocation of the transcendental and unquantifiable nature of the infinite. It represents a perfect balance between the visible and the spiritual, the concrete material of a work and its idea and the form and the void.
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