Part of Anish Kapoor’s Wounds and Absent Objects series, Blue Circle deftly encapsulates two of Kapoor’s most distinctive artistic departures: the use of pigment and his exploration of light and space through the invocation of the void. In this work from 1996 Kapoor returns to the densely coloured pigment that was so characteristic of his early artistic practice, using the depth of the pigment to soften and modulate the solid physicality of the disc. Kapoor began using pigment after a trip to India in 1979, responding both to its personal cultural significance and the chromatic purity of its bold primary tones: "The substantia of the painting-sculptures that would result is pure pigment, which, despite its optical weight as dense colour, has a soft ethereal quality that makes the features and contours of volume and form nebulous. It dissolves considerations of the real and emphasises the power of light…Being formed of the purest of powder, the contours of each element become labile, the surface vulnerable, changeable, indefinite" (Germano Celant, Anish Kapoor, Milan 1998, p. 21).
His use of pigment, particularly in this vivid blue, recalls Yves Klein’s experiments to produce a paint that would have the same intensity as dry pigment ending with the creation of the now immortal International Klein Blue. For Klein this blue had a quality that approached ‘pure’ space and he associated it with an immaterial world beyond human perception. Kapoor both alludes to and extends this significance by combining the infinite blue with his iconic disc shape.
Throughout his career Kapoor has consistently sought to challenge perceptual empiricism and so the physically shallow disc shape of Blue Circle is modulated by the use of pigment and the void is invoked - in this case as an imaginary space that stretches out into an implied infinite.