In Out continues Anish Kapoor’s career-long interrogation of space, which has earned him his reputation as one of the greatest contemporary sculptors. Kapoor’s early pigment sculptures from his 1000 Names series, which he worked on between 1979 and 1980, raised questions about shape and form. From there, Kapoor went on to create his iconic wall-mounted reflective disks, which distort the viewer’s own reflection and their environment. When observing these disks, the viewer becomes immersed in a mystifying visual experience similar to that of In Out; a reflected reality envelops the viewer in a coloured universe, which encourages contemplation on the relationship between an individual and their environment.
Although Kapoor’s sculptures are brilliantly innovative in their inquiry of space, his style is deeply rooted in the tradition of minimalist sculpture. In their perfect simplicity, his works recall Donald Judd’s Specific Objects; like Judd’s Objects, Kapoor’s pieces demand that the viewer abandon any representational references and meet sculpture on its own, simplified aesthetic terms. Kapoor’s sculptures also recall the revolutionary oeuvre of Lucio Fontana, whose pieces seek to articulate a dimension beyond the limits of the canvas. In contrast to Fontana, Kapoor interrogates the physical space surrounding his sculpture. On his polished surfaces physical reality is transformed into fantasy.
Kapoor’s belief, “that art is all about illusion and the unreal,” (Anish Kapoor, cited in ‘Kapoor on Kapoor’, The Guardian, 8 November 2008, online) informs an understanding of his dynamic mirrored surfaces. Hovering on the border between real and imaginary, In Out is imbued with an unsettling ambiguity, articulated in its paradoxical title. Its fluid form appears frozen in time, but about to disperse into formlessness once more. Its surface presents a simultaneously beautiful and warped reflection. This ambiguity adds to the allure of In Out; the work’s seductive beauty traps the viewer in an otherworldly realm. As the viewer’s twisted image glides across the surface, he or she becomes lost in the void.
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