Lot 50
  • 50

ANISH KAPOOR | Parabolic Mirror, Asagi

300,000 - 400,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Anish Kapoor
  • Parabolic Mirror, Asagi
  • signed and dated 2005 on the reverse
  • synthetic wood, Japanese lacquer


SCAI The Bathhouse, Tokyo (acquired directly from the artist) Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006


Tokyo, SCAI The Bathhouse, Anish Kapoor: “Japanese Mirrors”, November - December 2005

Catalogue Note

With its highly polished surface and smooth, glossy finish, Anish Kapoor’s 2005 work Parabolic Mirror, Asagi sends the viewer into an uncanny realm of strange and transcendent possibility. Its large mirrored façade seems at once to absorb and distort, reflect and project, drawing in and inverting the light and space of its surroundings as it simultaneously emits a deep, inky glow in indigo-blue. The work comes from Kapoor’s celebrated body of mirror works, explored by the artist since the mid-1990s and exhibited today in public spaces and museums the world over. Merging art, architecture and alchemy, his gleaming mirrors become portals into an upended and unknown world where the only absolute is uncertainty itself: “Notions about illusion are quite central,” the artist writes. “This is where I have a curious overlap with painting in that the space of painting is the space of illusion. I seem to be making sculpture about the space beyond, illusory space” (Anish Kapoor cited in: Rainer Crone and Alexandra von Stosch, Anish Kapoor, Munich 2008, p. 47). Through their curvilinear yet highly reflective surfaces, works such as the present conjure a dialectic perception of both flatness and depth, presence and absence, infinity and the void. In the mirrored embrace of Parabolic Mirror, Asagi, order as we know it is thrown into enigmatic disarray: turned upside down, elongated and distended, the world and the viewer are re-envisaged anew. As scholar and critical theorist Homi K. Bhabha has stated of Kapoor’s reflective sculptures, “the mirror’s magic reduces both the depth and the weight of the world into a skin that floats on the surface of the [work], emphasising the nothingness of the object itself” (Homi K. Bhabha in: Exh. Cat., London, The Royal Academy of Arts, Anish Kapoor, 2009, p. 174). The pristine surface of Parabolic Mirror, Asagi belies its laborious creation. Made from traditional Japanese lacquer, a material deftly exploited by Kapoor since 2000, the work’s tactile and mirror-like sheen has been achieved through a painstaking build-up of layers of lacquer. This paradox of process and finish, of what is seen and what remains undiscernible to the naked eye, is a vital component of Kapoor’s practice: “For every concrete object,” he explains, “there is an equal non-object, a dark and mysterious one. The space at the back of the cave. The space of the sewer and not the one outside the window” (Anish Kapoor in conversation with Donna de Salvo in: Anish Kapoor, London 2009, p. 403). Colour, too, carries strong symbolic importance in Kapoor’s work, and the reverberating blue tint of the present sculpture has been employed by the artist as “an acknowledgement of and homage to the mystical power of colour [and] its ability to create a sense of metaphysical transformation” (Thomas McEvilley, ‘The Darkness Inside a Stone’ in: Exh. Cat., Venice Biennale, British Pavilion, Anish Kapoor, 1990, pp. 19-20). Through carefully manipulating the physical and metaphysical properties of reflective concave surfaces, Kapoor toys with the limits of space itself, creating an illusory dimension which can be seen but lies forever just out of reach. Encompassing everything from outer space, psychological space, and the twenty-first century phenomenon of Cyberspace, Parabolic Mirror, Asagi lulls the viewer from a state of reflection to introspection, as it poetically conjures the impalpable and shadowy dimensions of the universe.