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Art Index: Anish Kapoor

Artist Biography


Born in Bombay in 1954, Anish Kapoor immigrated to the United Kingdom in 1973 where he studied at the Hornsey and the Chelsea College of Art.


Kapoor became known in the 1980s for his geometric or biomorphic sculptures using simple materials such as granite, limestone, marble, pigment, and plaster. These early sculptures are frequently simple, curved forms - usually monochromatic and brightly coloured, using powder pigment to define and permeate the form. He has said of the sculptures: "While making the pigment pieces, it occurred to me that they all form themselves out of each other. So I decided to give them a generic title, A Thousand Names, implying infinity, a thousand being a symbolic number. The powder works sat on the floor or projected from the wall. The powder on the floor defines the surface of the floor and the objects appear to be partially submerged, like icebergs. That seems to fit inside the idea of something being partially there…" Such use of pigment characterized his first high-profile exhibit as part of the New Sculpture exhibition at the Hayward Gallery London in 1978.


Kapoor represented Britain at the XLIV Venice Biennale in 1990, when he was awarded the Premio Duemila Prize. In 1991, He received the Turner Prize in 1991, was crowned Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2003, and exhibited at the Palace of Versailles in the footsteps of Koons, Lee Ufan and Murakami; in 2002 received the Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. His notable public sculptures include Cloud Gate (2006, colloquially known as "the Bean") in Chicago's Millennium Park; Sky Mirror, exhibited at the Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2006 and Kensington Gardens in London in 2010; Temenos, at Middlehaven, Middlesbrough; Leviathan, at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011; and ArcelorMittal Orbit, commissioned as a permanent artwork for London's Olympic Park and completed in 2012. In 2017 Kapoor designed the statuette for the 2018 Brit Awards.


Leviathan (2011) - outside view

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In February 2017 Kapoor, who is Jewish, was announced as the recipient of the US$1 million Genesis Prize, which "recognizes individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their fields and whose actions and achievements express a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and the State of Israel".


The use of red wax is also part of his repertoire, evocative of flesh, blood, and transfiguration. In 2007, he showed Svayambh (which translated from Sanskrit means "self-generated"), a 1.5-meter block of red wax that moved on rails through the Nantes Musée des Beaux-Arts as part of the Biennale estuaire; this piece was shown again in a major show at the Haus der Kunst in Munich and in 2009 at the Royal Academy in London. Some of Kapoor's works blur the boundaries between architecture and art.


From the Exhibition Anish Kapoor at the Royal Academy of Arts, 26 September-11 December 2009

Copyright by Christian Sinibaldi


Kapoor sued the National Rifle Association (NRA) in 2018. The gun lobby group had, without the sculptor's consent, used a filmed image of Cloud Gate in an approximately one-minute-long promotional video called "The Violence of Lies". The suit was ultimately settled out of court. Kapoor reported that the settlement included the removal of his work from the NRA's film, saying "They have now complied with our demand to remove the unauthorized image of my sculpture Cloud Gate from their abhorrent video, which seeks to promote fear, hostility, and division in American society".


With touches of Indian spirituality, his sculptures strike a balance between opposing forces. Our relationship to space and its perception is preponderant; especially in his works using mirrors or stainless steel (Turning the world upside Down #4).


The intensity and vibrancy of color is also central to Kapoor’s work, which acquired the exclusive rights to Vantablack in 2016, a black that absorbs over 99.9% of light.


Vantablack Pantone

Vantablack | #020003 | RGB(2, 0, 3) | CMYK(33, 100, 0, 99) | HSL(280°, 100, 0.6)



Auction results


According to the site artprice.net, $100 invested in a work by Anish KAPOOR in 2000 would be worth an average of $357 (+ 257%) in December 2020, even if last year his proce evolution is -13% with 46 lots sold. The same year the turnover was 2,2 million $, mostly in the UK market (48%).


Price index, 2000-2021, by Artprice.net



Chronological progression, 2000-2021, by Artprice.net


From 2020 to 2021, Kapoor sold 332 lots in the UK, followed by US (188), France (39), Germany (25), Austria (9), Italy and Netherlands (6), and Venezuela (1), with a turnover worting $137.4 million (the best selling pieces are his sculptures, prints and drawings/watercolors).


There are no artworks by Anish KAPOOR currently listed in upcoming public auctions



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