Anish Kapoor (born 1954) Untitled 2005
Lot 18AR W
Anish Kapoor
(born 1954)
Sold for £626,500 (US$ 826,124) inc. premium

Lot Details
Anish Kapoor (born 1954) Untitled 2005 Anish Kapoor (born 1954) Untitled 2005 Anish Kapoor (born 1954) Untitled 2005
Anish Kapoor (born 1954)

signed and dated 2005 on the reverse
stainless steel

173 by 173 by 40 cm.
68 1/8 by 68 1/8 by 15 3/4 in.


  • Provenance
    Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2005

    Anish Kapoor makes the intriguing suggestion that viewers of Untitled, 2005 should 'look beyond' the sculpture in order to experience the full effect of the artwork. At first sight, this may appear to be easier said than done because the sculpture itself is quite incredible. A huge disc of stainless steel, one hundred and seventy three centimetres in diameter, carefully shaped into an elegant concave and polished to absolute perfection; this is the kind of object that is going to catch everyone's attention, and dominate any space that it inhabits. Untitled, 2005 draws people to it, captives, enchants and astonishes them. But once it has their attention, then Kapoor can cast his spell.

    Indian-born Anish Kapoor first arrived in Britain in the 1970s, a time when the London art scene was blossoming. It was a period of aesthetic revolution, of disruption and political challenge. "Of course, I'm not a political artist, or at least agit-prop in art isn't where I go, but I felt very strongly that this was the milieu in which I needed to operate," he stated in a recent interview (Turning the World Upside Down, London, 2010, p. 54). It was also a time when sculpture was at the forefront, with young artists seeking new ways of interpreting the world around them in three dimensions. Kapoor had found his place, and found his metier. The rest, as they say, is history.

    His first mirror piece was created in 1995. Since then, Kapoor has continued to experiment with reflective surfaces, planes and forms. As a result, mirrored discs such as the present lot are today widely regarded as his most instantly recognisable works. The idea may be simple, but the execution is long, complicated and precise, and the results are complex and astounding. The artist's monumental public work Sky Mirror, 2001, was ten years in the making from drawing board to completion, and now resides in Nottingham. An even larger version, which clocks in at over ten metres and twenty three tons, has since toured the world, being exhibited in the Rockefeller Centre, New York, the Hermitage museum in St Petersburg and Kensington Gardens, London.

    Untitled, 2005 is a sculpture that invites, in fact compels, the viewer to interact with it. As you approach, you find a world turned upside down, inverted and subverted. The reflection is unsettling and disorientating, yet strangely involving, as the shapes we recognise from the world around us twist, bend and turn into something at once familiar and yet totally new. As you move towards the sculpture you become increasingly aware of your own reflection, which grows ever larger. When you hit the focal point, your reflection becomes immense, filling the sphere with a blur. Then, quite suddenly and unexpectedly, the world turns the right way up, and everything is back to normal. Inevitably, you move yourself back and forward, playing with the image in front of you, watching as it morphs and evolves. Suddenly you are in the place that Kapoor intended; the beautiful sculpture itself is forgotten, and the experience takes over.

    Like Kapoor, ancient Egyptians polished moon-like discs of metal to a high sheen in order to capture its reflective properties, and valued them as exotic luxuries. As was realised even then, there is definitely something magical about mirrors. In fairy-tales they take on personalities of their own, and they have been harnessed through the ages by sorcerers to cast up spirits and divine the future. As well as using them to capture the present reality, past generations have viewed mirrors as a gateway into alternative,supernatural realities, and anyone who has stood in front of Untitled, 2005 can clearly see why. For while we may be more used to them nowadays, the present lot reveals that mirrors can still inspire a sense of wonder. In artistic terms, the aesthetics of a mirror are almost impossible to put into words, as it has no visual properties of its own; we only see in a mirror what we place before it. Anish Kapoor, however, successfully manipulates reality with Untitled, 2005 in surprising and fascinating ways. And although it might initially seem absurd to want to 'look beyond' such an astonishing object, with its cool, sleek semi-elliptical form, anyone who is lucky enough to view Untitled, 2005 in person will quickly understand just how easy this can be.
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