LONDON - It is virtually impossible to choose a favourite work from our Contemporary Art Day sale that is taking place July 1st. So many hours of work are dedicated to getting works into the sale, followed by the excitement when they finally come in and you actually get to see them in the flesh . . . but if I was forced to make a list it would certainly include the beautiful alabaster work, Untitled by Anish Kapoor.
What I love about this and the rest of Kapoor’s alabaster sculptures from the late 1990s is how tactile they are. The rough texture of the outside contrasts with a smooth, highly polished concave centre of the work, a shape that seems to precede the metallic “dishes” for which Kapoor is so well known.
The first time we saw the work it had just arrived with us the day before. We visited Sotheby’s warehouse – not the most flattering of settings: imagine an enormous space lined with row upon row of perfectly classified works. The work was sitting in the arrivals area, on top of a plinth. We were lucky it was a sunny day, and the building was inundated by light that hit the work. It looked so beautiful even in such an industrial setting! Later, when our technicians took it to the photography studio and we asked the photographer to play around with lighting and angles to recreate the same impression. The shots are incredible – just look at the back cover of our catalogue. It is as if light emanates from within the sculpture.
I can’t wait to see the work installed in the galleries during our view. It’s the final stage in the relationship with a work before the sale. One of the things about Untitled, and which I find characteristic of Kapoor’s work, is that it invites one to spend time with it. It makes you want to circle it slowly and look at it, taking in the sculpture, and savouring its textures.
Marina Ruiz Colomer is a junior cataloguer in the Contemporary Art department, Sotheby’s London.