Anish Kapoor (British, born 1954) Untitled 2014

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Lot 28AR TP
Anish Kapoor
(British, born 1954)
Sold for £ 392,750 (US$ 512,343) inc. premium

Lot Details
Anish Kapoor (British, born 1954) Untitled 2014
Anish Kapoor (British, born 1954)

signed and dated 2014 on the reverse
stainless steel

138.5 by 138.5 by 28 cm.
54 1/2 by 54 1/2 by 11 in.


  • Provenance
    Christie's, London, Private Sale, 11 July 2014
    The Dr Walid Juffali Collection, London (acquired directly from the above)
    Thence by descent to the present owner

    Anish Kapoor is internationally celebrated as one of the world's greatest living sculptors. His diverse oeuvre encompasses a broad range of techniques and media, and his creations range from the small and delicate to the truly monumental. It is, however, his mirrored sculptures which have become his most iconic works. Kapoor has been creating such reflective sculptures for over twenty years, exploring their seemingly endless potential in various scales, shapes and colours, placing them both indoors and outside. The series includes some of his best-known pieces of public art, such as the immense Sky Mirror in New York, and his Cloud Gate in Chicago. Sometimes curved, sometimes bulbous, flat or tall, wall mounted or free-standing, they never fail to surprise and delight.

    Hanging, apparently floating, the impressive concave stainless steel disc of Untitled from 2014 has a strong otherworldly presence underscored by its seemingly perfect symmetry. Beginning in ancient times the circle was seen as perfect, representing the infinite energy of the universe and was synonymous with the sun, moon, the sacred and the divine. In Ancient Egypt Horus, the god of the sky and of the kings, is frequently represented with a round crown, as seen in the image illustrated herewith. Kapoor's use therefore of the circle, as exemplified here, creates something beyond the corporeal, something ethereal and celestial, what might even be described as a 'non-object' with an almost magical quality despite its production from fine-tuned, modern engineering.

    The highly polished metal surface of this sculpture not only mirrors the space that surrounds it, but also distorts it, spinning and turning it as the viewer approaches or retreats. The surface is meticulously finished with a hypnotic glossiness and yet it is not that which we see when we encounter Untitled; rather it is the enormous reflection which it projects back at us that captures our attention. A paradox is created, in which a work of art harnesses the peculiar qualities of a particular material, and yet the impact of the work lies far beyond its materiality. The instinctive desire to see ourselves pulls us in, but the sculpture then takes us further: "A mirror provides a fatal attraction to humans. Stimulating humans' narcissistic instincts, it draws the viewer into the work while at the same time infiltrating his or her own space... The impression of strong materiality fades, superseded by floating images which gesture towards the state of the non-material. And that is the state of 'non-object' emphasised by Kapoor" (Tae Hyunsum in: Tae Hyunsum, 'Engaging Objects: The Art of Anish Kapoor' in: Anish Kapoor: Objects, Seoul 2012, p. 27).

    To fully engage with the present work one must move around it, towards it and away from it. Its impact is never the same twice, as its reflections, or rather our reflections shift and flip. The science and engineering involved in producing these effects is complex. The existence of a so-called 'focal length' is key: stand further away from the mirrored surface of the present work than this precise distance, and your reflection is turned inverted. Move towards the work, and as soon as you arrive at this focal length your body seems to explode into an enormous mass of moving shapes and colours. Keep going, and finally you will turn back round again, and the world returns to normal. The experience of this intriguing optical illusion is intense and disconcerting, but also completely enthralling. In the catalogue for the Serpentine Gallery's 2010-2011 exhibition of such mirrored works by Kapoor, entitled Turning the World Upside Down, esteemed mathematician Marcus de Sautoy described the artist as if he were indeed a scientist, and a pioneering one at that: "Kapoor is like a modern-day Newton, using not telescopes but works of art to give the viewer a glimpse into the depths of the universe...[the mirrors] may seem to turn the world upside down, but that is what it really looks like out there" (Marcus de Sautoy, 'Passport to the Cosmos' in: Turning the World Upside Down, London 2010, p. 47).

    In apparently warping our reality, Untitled, 2014 actually opens up new ways of seeing, even new ways of thinking and being. In this shining disc of cool, polished perfection can be found nothing less than a path into a new, unexpected realm.
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  1. Amy Thompson
    Specialist - Contemporary Art
    Work Chicago, United States
    Work T: +1 872 400 6314
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