An exquisite example of Anish Kapoor’s ongoing investigation into the possibilities of spatial manipulation, Untitled forms part of the artist’s seminal series of wall-mounted mirror sculptures. In contrast to the smooth curves of other examples from the series, the present work is fashioned from grooved stainless steel, resulting in an astonishing sensation of movement across the surface. The play of light across the delicately faceted surface is reminiscent of rippling water, whilst the gentle curvature of the metal further distorts the reflections of the surrounding area. This alteration of perspective encourages the onlooker to view the world around them afresh, imbuing the everyday with a sense of the marvellous and fantastical. 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. Homi K. Bhabha has written eloquently of Kapoor’s mirrored works, noting that “the mirror’s magic reduces both the depth and the weight of the world into a skin that floats on the surface of the steel, emphasising the nothingness of the object itself” (Exh. Cat., London, The Royal Academy of Arts, Anish Kapoor, 2009, p. 174).
Through the panoramic vision it presents of the space and life around it, Untitled poetically embodies the reflective powers of art and captures the alchemy of creation. As the viewer circumnavigates the piece, their perspective alters subtly: not only does every onlooker perceive the work slightly differently, but, by placing themselves within the mirrored reflection, they become an integral part of the work itself. Norman Rosenthal notes that the artist refers to his sculptures as being: "'Self-generated' … Even when he is absent, it is constantly changing and re-inventing itself” (ibid., p. 47). Untitled continually reacts to its ambient environment, effectively reflecting the world around it in microcosm.
The present work evinces one of the key conflicts in art that permeates all Kapoor's work: that of the issue of balance between the visible and the spiritual; between the concrete material of a work and its idea; between the form and the void. As Kapoor observes: "It seemed it was not a mirrored object but an object full of mirroredness. The spatial questions it seemed to ask were not about deep space but about present space, which I began to think about as a new sublime. If the traditional sublime is in deep space, then this is proposing that the contemporary sublime is in front of the picture plane, not beyond it. I continue to make these works because I feel this is a whole new spatial adventure” (Exh. Cat., Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art, Anish Kapoor, 2008, p. 52). As an object of extraordinary beauty and power, Untitled is a masterful encapsulation of Kapoor’s utterly unique creative dialectic.
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