Thursday, 1 September 2011

Week 6- Anish Kapoor Sculpture

Celebrated for his gigantic, stainless steel Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Anish Kapoor is changing the cultural environment with his public works.

Cloud Gate (2004), Millennium Park, Chicago
Celebrated for his gigantic, stainless steel Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Anish Kapoor is changing the cultural environment with his public works.
1. Research Kapoor's work in order to discuss whether it is conceptual art or not. Explain your answer, using a definition of conceptual art.
 ’Conceptual Art’ is a contemporary form of artistic representation, in which a specific concept or idea, often personal, complex and inclusive, takes shape in an abstract, nonconforming manner, based upon a negation of aesthetic principles (‘Conceptual Art,’ 2011). Artists do not set out to paint or make a certain thing with a particular form but to use mediums to express a concept or idea. I have seen this work before when looking at out studio special brief and think that Kapoor’s work is conceptual sculpture art as well as playing on architecture and visual in the use of the reflective material.  Its dramatic size draws attention to it and viewers can see it and be a part of it in the same instant by looking at their reflections in the shiny surface.  I think it would look awesome from above in one of the Chicago office buildings seeing the mirror image of the sky and buildings around it from above.

2. Research 3 quite different works by Kapoor from countries outside New Zealand to discuss the ideas behind the work. Include images of each work on your blog.

Tall Tree & the Eye, 2009, Stainless steel and carbon steel
Tall Tree and The Eye is a sculpture made of 80 spheres around 3 axes. The polished mirror-like surfaces of “each sphere simultaneously reflects itself, its neighbours and all the components that make up the tower” (“Tall Tree and the Eye,” 2011). I really like the reflective qualities of Kapoor’s artworks and the scale of them. The idea of nature and how things appear is shown and how they have been arranged to reflect themselves, the viewer and their surroundings is amazing and thoroughly planned. It reminds me of science and chemistry particles and at the same time makes me think of balloons at a fair. “Though it is a very large piece of sculpture it comes across as somehow weightless and ephemeral” (“Tall Tree and the Eye,” 2011).

Yellow, 1999, Fibreglass and pigment
Yellow is “a six-square-meter disc made from fiberglass and covered in 12 coats of yellow paint” (“Anish Kapoor...Academy,” 2011). It tricks the eye at first appearing to be a smooth surface that is actually in fact a concave void at the center. Kapoor says his work as an artist is to make discoveries (Youtube).His works are always different but have similar ideas and he often plays with color as not just the surface but as ‘stuff’ like a material in itself. To him Yellow is like a monochromatic painting. Our entire field of vision is taken up with the singular experience of colour. As we look at this work the boundaries are blurred between what we know and what we perceive. It seems to go deeper and stretch beyond its sculptural confines (“Yellow,” 2011). I like the trick on the depth of this artwork and the use of such a bright colour as a material not just a substance applied and the varying tones he uses.

Greyman Cries, Shaman Dies, Billowing Smoke, Beauty Evoked.
This set of sculptures follow Kapoor’s ideas of art without the use of the human hand to make art the goes “beyond expression” (Luca, 2009). The works were made using CAD and never touched/moulded by the human hand meeting Kapoor’s idea for this series of artworks. They crowd the room almost completely forcing the viewer to slide beside them.  They appear as coils of snakes, intestines, spaghetti and other piled up thin strings. I like that they have never been touched by the human hand and the contrast of the folds and creases in the material.

3. Discuss the large scale 'site specific' work that has been installed on a private site in New Zealand.
4. Where is the Kapoor's work in New Zealand? What are its form and materials? What are the ideas behind the work?

This work is an installation for “The Farm”, a private outdoor art gallery in Kaipara Bay, north of Auckland. Kapoor often creates outdoor sculptures as with the case with his first outdoor fabric sculpture. “it is designed to withstand the high winds that blow inland from the Tasman Sea off the northwest coast of New Zealand’s North Island” (“Anish Kapoor...New Zealand,” 2011).  It is 85metres long and consists of two elliptical steel rings (one vertical, one horizontal), 27 metres across with 32 cables providing displacement and deflection resistance to the wind loads. It is covered in a custom deep red PVC-coated polyester fabric by Ferrari Textiles that weighs 7,200kg alone (Kapoor Sculpture,” 2009). It was created with the idea of enhancing views of the harbour to the west and mountains to the east channelling the forces of water, air and rock (Garrett, 2009). It reminds me of red blood cells and veins with a membrane like quality to it that Kapoor describes as being “rather like flayed skin” (Garrett, 2009).

5. Comment on which work by Kapoor is your favourite, and explain why. Are you personally attracted more by the ideas or the aesthetics of the work?I am personally attracted to the aesthetic of Kapoor’s works, specifically the ones with reflective surfaces and shiny properties to the materials he uses. I think my favourite would have to be the sky mirrors. The scale of the 35-foot-diameter concave mirror of polished stainless steel is breathtaking. I like the idea of the concave side reflecting upwards and showing the sky and clouds and the convex side angled down showing people and viewers around it. The idea of it changing throughout the day and night is intriguing as the artwork will never look the same twice reflecting the changing environment from season to season. I love the fact that this sculpture isn’t permanent and can move around and be placed just about anywhere.

·         Conceptual Art (retrieved 31August 2011).
·         Anish Kapoor retrospective at the Royal Academy. (retrieved 1 September 2011).
·         Luca. 2009, 18 Novemeber.  Anish Kapoor – Royal Academy of Arts.
·         Anish Kapoor sculpture blends fabric and steel in New Zealand. (retrieved 1 Sep. 11).
·         Kapoor Sculpture, Kaipara Harbour, NZ. 2009.
·          Garret, R. 2009. The Farm: Alan Gibbs – businessman, collector and artists’ accomplice.


  1. I agree with what you have said about Kapoor's work being both that of conceptual sculpture and architecture, because this is so true. To some people, it would be one and to others the other. I think this opinion based on the public depends on many different aspects of the person such as what kind of thinker they are, what they do for a career, social, moral and religious beliefs also come into the factor of how conceptual art is portrayed in their minds.

    One of the reasons I chose to comment on your blog in particular is that you have chose completely different works of Kapoor to talk about than to the three I chose.

    One of these three works that stood out to me was that of 'Tall Tree and The Eye' (2009) I think that this is a very impressive piece and Kapoor continues to startle me with the bizarre pieces of architecture he displays.

  2. I have to agree with you about his work being conceptual sculpture art, I happened to be sitting on the fence with that question because his work's look like sculptures. I also liked his work 'Tall Tree and The Eye' the use of the sphere's so they could reflect one another is truely amazing. The fact that they had been set up in a way so they could do so is really interesting

  3. I like the work you chose, 'Tall tree & the Eye' (2009) by Kapoor and how you mentioned what the work reminded you of. It's cool how you can look at his work and be reminded of heaps of different things. When I look at this work I'm reminded of mercury or Christmas baubles. I also think the reflective quality definitely adds to his work as well.

    I also thought the definition you chose in question one for conceptual art was good and also how you went on further with your own explanation.

  4. I like how you said “Artists do not set out to paint or make a certain thing with a particular form but to use mediums to express a concept or idea.” That words makes sense of the last time brief’s “stop making sence”! ah I should research him before that brief, I felt one of your research “beyond expression” is a little bit similar to my salt sculpture,, don’t you think so??:)
    I agree with your explanation about Kapoor's work being both that of conceptual sculpture and architecture. His works are huge and sometime can get in side of his work, that’s makes special atmosphere and makes strong connection between it and audience.

  5. I find it rather humorous how answering some these questions there is never a right or wrong answer, which is made of an example in your response of if Kapoor's work being conceptual art or not. However it does evoke thoughtful thinking. I found it interesting to think of the medium separately as the concept, oppose to collectively think of a concept based around a medium. I am guilty of basing my concept around my medium and aesthetically appeal I aim for. I think this comes naturally as a new designer where we focus on the 'face value' firstly then look into the concept. However I hope I develop my thinking to a point where i use my medium as an extension to my concept.