It's safe to say that Anish Kapoor is one of the most well-known living artists in the world.
He was born in Mumbai in 1954. Before pursuing art, he first went to study engineering but quit because he found maths challenging. Today he works closely with engineers to create his monumental structures, such as Cloud Gate in Chicago (affectionately known as ‘The Bean’) and ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park.
Kapoor was also included as one of Britain’s Cultural Icons featured in the British passport in 2015. He emigrated to Great Britain in 1973 to study art at Hornsey College of Art, and then Chelsea College of Art and Design. He studied with British-Romanian artist Paul Neagu, who he cites as an influence and role model in his early career.
At the core of Kapoor’s practice is the idea of experimentation, regardless of medium. He wants to challenge the senses, whether by forcing us to experience ourselves from an unexplored angle or through visceral presentation of the body.
Although he is best known for his public sculptures, Anish Kapoor has quietly maintained a painting practice. Michael Slenske’s review of Kapoor’s painting exhibition at Regen Projects in LA describes “blood, viscera and ritual sacrifice” as central to Kapoor’s practice.
Anish Kapoor is one of those rare, history-making artists who has become a household name. He has become known for his outspoken political views. Interestingly, he sees these as separate from his art.
There are two different things that happen, one is what I am as an artist. I have nothing to say as an artist. I let the work do its thing. The other is, of course, I have a voice, and I will use it as best I can and fight for causes as a citizen and as a human being.
This kind of sharp philosophical thinking is typical of Kapoor. But ultimately, when it comes to his art, he prefers the viewer to do the thinking for themselves.
What we do as artists is mythological, without your involvement as a viewer, there is no story.
All images ©Anish Kapoor. All rights reserved, DACS 2023