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Anish Kapoor Photo

Anish Kapoor

British-Indian Sculptor, Painter, and Installation Artist

Movements and Styles: Post-Minimalism, Neo-Expressionism, Installation Art, The Sublime in Art

Born: 1954 - Mumbai, India

Anish Kapoor Timeline

"The act of making a mark is violent and that's poetic."

Anish Kapoor Signature

Summary of Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor transformed the cool, conceptual, and minimal approach to sculpture by adding lyricism, metaphor, and the heat of the primordial. Objects spill out from their own parameters suggesting an excess of emotion, yet they also stand serenely as in meditative focus for ritual. Typically, the sculptures appear abstract, with Kapoor's intention to promote self-reflection made most obvious when using mirrored surfaces. He does not wish to present a prescriptive idea, but instead to create an environment within which people themselves can consider meaning. As the viewer becomes part of the sculpture, each work speaks of the confined individuality of a single body, but also of the expansive inclusiveness of a shared place. At once celestial and earthy, art by Kapoor evokes untouchable far away planets alongside the soft warmth of a close pregnant belly. His sculptures paradoxically entwine esoteric philosophy with sensual everyday experience.

Key Ideas

Like sculptors of the same generation, including Richard Serra and Antony Gormley, Kapoor asks his audience to consider how they exist in and move through space. His public works are at once graceful and imposing, raising the question of how human presence impacts upon the natural environment as he seeks to create a respectful and interesting relationship between the two.
Kapoor repeatedly returns to the notion of origin. Although not explicit, the beginning of life is constantly referenced. Kapoor makes holes, often vulva-like, and curves to illustrate pregnancy, as the journey towards birth from our mother's womb is highlighted. Red becomes the color of blood, the body, and the initiation of life's journey.
Kapoor's interest in infinity, void, and endlessness is as much an interest in carving out space to consider meaning, as it is a reflection on the state of no-thing-ness, and a clearing of the mind. The color black, like an abyss in the cosmos, signifies an opening for new and unpredictable experiences and presents limitless opportunity for self-development and contemplation.
His is a particularly international body of work, with momentous public sculptures placed as icons all around the globe. Kapoor gives the world a way to speak without words; like the ancient cave painters and the Egyptian's before them, artists recognize that there is a way to communicate in which everyone can understand. Kapoor builds a pictorial language of symbols that translates across cultures and time.
Viewed from above, Kapoor's pigment sculptures become painterly. They transform to recall Constructivist and Suprematist canvases by Kazimir Malevich as well as abstract paintings by Paul Klee. In this sense, Kapoor achieves a typical artist's goal, to unite metaphysical dualities including light and dark, earth and sky, mind and body, male and female, and in this case, painting and sculpture.
Anish Kapoor Photo

Anish Kapoor was born in 1954 in Mumbai, India. His mother was the Iraqi-Jewish daughter of a rabbi who immigrated to India from Baghdad with her family when she was an infant. His Hindu father was a hydrographer for the Indian Navy, who spent much of Kapoor's childhood on the ocean collecting data and charting marine navigation. Both of his parents were very modern and cosmopolitan, and sent Anish and his younger brother, IIan, to the prestigious Doon School, an all-boys boarding school in Dehra Dun. There the boys learned equally as much European history as they did knowledge about India. Because of this exclusive education, combined with the diversity and forward thinking within his own family, Kapoor spent his childhood feeling like an outsider unsure of his identity within Indian society. In his late teens, his sense of not belonging developed into deep internal turmoil. "I was seriously fucked up, full of inner conflict that I didn't know how to resolve." As result, Kapoor spent the next 15 years in psychoanalytical therapy, acquiring the tools needed to cope with his imbalance.

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Anish Kapoor
Interactive chart with Anish Kapoor's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
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Artists

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys
Anthony CaroAnthony Caro
Barnett NewmanBarnett Newman
Louise BourgeoisLouise Bourgeois

Personal Contacts

Richard SerraRichard Serra
Paul Neagu

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism
MinimalismMinimalism
Influences on Artist
Influences on Artist
Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor
Years Worked: 1979 - present
Influenced by Artist
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Richard Deacon
Conrad Shawcross

Personal Contacts

Ai WeiweiAi Weiwei
Zaha HadidZaha Hadid
Juan Muñoz
Salman Rushdie
Tony Fretton

Movements

New British SculptureNew British Sculpture
Post-MinimalismPost-Minimalism
Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism
Public Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Katelyn Davis

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Rebecca Baillie

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Katelyn Davis
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Rebecca Baillie
Available from:
First published on 19 Nov 2017. Updated and modified regularly. Information
[Accessed ]