Station: [16] Anish Kapoor, Untitled, 1997


Magically attracted, we linger before the silvery, highly polished steel of the concave shell by Anish Kapoor (*1954 in Bombay), and this coming-to-a-standstill when face to face with an artwork is not a matter of course. We are confused, for according to where we stand, the park and we ourselves are reproduced in a quite unusual way on its mirroring, polished surface. The image is upside down, and left and right are reversed; proportions are altered; the firm raster of our normal perception is unhinged, dizziness can even result. It is a literal rendition of art holding a mirror up to nature, but in fact an allegorical self-portrait of art upsetting the reality of linear perspective. Kapoor’s offbeat sculptures are based on considerations of painterly possibilities and depictive principles, on our visual habits and the gain in knowledge from new ways of seeing. This thought is above all interesting if you consider the fact that we don’t even register the concave shell as an object: the paradox of the work is that it is physically very present and at the same not there at all, as Kapoor says. He is one of the most successful and most celebrated British artists of the past 25 years and one of the most prominent protagonists of British sculpture, who does not shy away from the spectacular. With unexpected forms in often gigantic proportions and unusual materials, Kapoor links “India’s spiritual tradition with the idea of the sublime in the tradition of western art”: Kapoor has said that he has a varying vocabulary of forms and a repertoire of material that he constantly adds to; this is a world in which a lot is possible.

Anish Kapoor

Untitled, 1997

Steel, polished

Permanent loan Michael and Eleonore Stoffel Foundation

© Stiftung Skulpturenpark Köln, 2015, Foto: Axel Schneider, Frankfurt am Main