Anish Kapoor was born on 12th March 1954 in Bombay, India where he has lived for most of his childhood before moving on to London in the 1970s. There he studied in the Hornsey College of Arts and the Chelsea School of Art Design. During his career he obtained many signs of academic respect from different countries, such as the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Praemium Imperiale. He was also elected Royal Academician in the UK.
His major field of work is sculpture. His style is characterized by the use of simple and elemental materials, as well as geometric and biomorphic structures. This often results in curved and monochromatic outdoors sculptures.
As for many artists, he went through different phases: in the 1980s he worked on the duality of matter and non-matter (earth-sky, female-male, conscious-unconscious). Around 1987 he started working in stone, still exploring the opposition between solid and non-solid. Later on he focused on reflective surfaces such as polished stainless steel, to achieve mirror effect. His latest phase is centered on flesh, body and blood, rendered by using red wax.
One of his most famous works, sky mirror, is the synthesis of this evolution in his craft. The first sky mirror was commissioned by the Nottingham playhouse and funded by the national lottery. With its ten tons and 6 meters wide concave disk of polished stainless steel, it is worth 900 000 pounds. It was unveiled in 2001. For the recent Brighton festival, of which Kapoor was a guest artistic director, the sky mirror was moved over to Brighton (It may be worth mentioning that during this festival he collaborated with Salman Rushdie, who has been discussed during the history of literature classes). In 2006, a larger version (10,6 meters, 23 tons ) was exposed at the Rockefeller Center, New York. In 2010 it was also visible in Kensington gardens. Its success resides in the ever-changing reflection of the environment and in the innovative idea of turning the world upside down.
Cloud gate is also a public sculpture, situated in the center of Chicago. It is nicknamed “the Bean” because of its bean-like shape. It has been constructed between 2004 and 2006. It is made up of about 170 steel plates. These are highly polished so that there are no visible seams. That is why the sculpture reflects the city skyline. It seems that Anish Kapoor took his inspiration in liquid mercury. The sculpture was selected to appear in Chicago during a design competition.
The numerous prizes he won don’t make him a distant artist; he remains visible to the public eyes and his celebrity isn’t decreasing. His distinctive style allows him recognition from a larger public than many other sculptors. Therefore his name should be remembered as a visionary man, well aware of the challenges of his time.