Inside out: Anish Kapoor


Born in India, Anish Kapoor has a rich cultural heritage through his Indian and Jewish ancestral lineage and his mainly British art education. He has been one of the most acclaimed sculptors working in Britain since completing his academic studies in 1979. Although currently based in London, Indian materials and ideas maintain a strong presence in his work. Kapoor’s sculpture is primarily concerned with metaphysical dualities: the play of opposing concepts such as presence and absence, inside and outside, light and dark.

Red is the colour I’ve felt very strongly about. . . Of course it’s the colour of the interior of our bodies. In a way it’s inside out. . . I’m interested in the idea that form in a sense turns itself inside out, that the inside and the outside are equivalent to each other. Anish Kapoor

In Untitled 2006-7, Kapoor has covered an extruding concave shape with a red lacquered surface. Projecting outward into space and simultaneously drawing the viewer in, it is a work that invites the viewer to contemplate its dark interior while remaining aware of its overall form. With sustained viewing, the play of inside and outside generates a profound optical effect.

Anish Kapoor ‘Untitled’ 2006-07

Anish Kapoor, England b.1954 / Untitled 2006-07 / Resin fibreglass and lacquer / 500cm (diam.) x 555cm (installed) / Commissioned 2006 with funds from the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation in recognition of the contribution to the Gallery by Doug Hall AM (Director 1987-2007) / Collection: Quensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Anish Kapoor

The scale and saturated colour of Anish Kapoor’s extraordinary sculptures engage the viewer both physically and psychologically. Using simple, strong forms, these enigmatic works enable viewers to directly experience primal states of being, from sensations of emptiness, to darkness, intimacy and desire. In this especially commissioned work, perception is manipulated through the use of a single rich colour, a highly reflective surface and monumental form. Kapoor uses the language of sculpture to explore ideas of metaphysics and the sublime, and his dramatic and monumental works often push the scope of sculpture into the realm of architecture.