- Anish Kapoor
- Turning the World Upside Down
- signed and dated 2003 on the interior of the base on the reverse; incised with the artist’s signature and dated 2003 on the exterior of the base on the reverse
- stainless steel
- 149.9 by 149.9 by 31.7cm.; 59 by 59 by 12 1/2 in.
Through its panoramic vision Turning the World Upside Down poetically embodies the reflective powers of art and captures the alchemy of creation. As the viewer circumnavigates the piece, their perspective alters: 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” (Norman Rosenthal, ‘Svayambh’ in: ibid., p. 47). Indeed, the present work continually reacts to its immediate environment, effectively and totally reversing the world around it in its entirety.
Turning the World Upside Down also invites intriguing connections with the ideal of the Sublime, in particular the post-modern concept as posited by Jean-François Lyotard. Lyotard argued that certain examples of contemporary art sought to represent ideas or themes which were impossible to truly delineate in physical form, thus arousing sensations of awe and bewilderment in the viewer as we are forced to confront concepts our mind is unable to truly comprehend. The shimmering surfaces and the curved space of Kapoor’s mirror installations induce an almost indefinable sense of disorienting arrest, not only cognitively but also physically and spatially. Indeed, the contemporary Sublime has been of abiding fascination for Kapoor throughout his career, and the artist has spoken of the importance of the concept within his work: “I have always been drawn to a notion of fear, towards a sensation of vertigo, of falling, of being pulled inwards. This is a notion of the sublime which reverses the picture of union with light” (Anish Kapoor quoted in: Camiel van Winkel, ‘On the Sublime in the Work of Anish Kapoor’ in: ibid., p. 168). Not only a fascinatingly complex manifestation of post-modern sublimity, Turning the World Upside Down encapsulates the profound symbolic import and haunting beauty of Kapoor’s oeuvre.