04 March 2013

A Sunday at the MCA Sydney: Anish Kapoor

Optical Effects and Material Experimentation


An afternoon at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Sydney is always a pleasant way of spending a Sunday, in particular if you get to see the first solo exhibition of Anish Kapoor.

Born in Mumbai, India in 1954, Anish Kapoor rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most celebrated and significant artists of his age. Like many creative individuals, Kapoor had an exciting, unconventional childhood that involved parents from diverse backgrounds. His father was Hindu and his mother was Jewish and both loved to travel. When he was just 16 years old the young artist immigrated to Israel, where he lived in a kibbutz for two years. It was there that Anish Kapoor decided to make art his life’s work.

His training began at the Hornsey College of Art and later Chelsea School of Art in Britain in 1973. It was there that he found a mentor in Paul Neagu, an artist who gave him inspiration as well as artistic direction. As he continued to hone his skills and refine his vision, young Kapoor worked as teacher at Wolverhampton Polytechnic in 1979. But his talent and hard work did not go unnoticed for long. He became an Artist in Residence at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool in 1982, which marked the start of his career as a professional artist.


Known primarily as a sculpture, Kapoor made a name for himself during the 1980s with a series of biomorphic and geometric sculptures made using simple materials such as plaster, pigment, limestone, granite, and marble. Most of his early pieces were uncomplicated, curved forms that were brightly colors with a special powered pigment. They were praised by critics and art lovers alike.

The late 1980s and early 1990s was a period of experimentation and discovery for Anish Kapoor. From his free-standing sculptures to his inimitable installations, they explored matter and non-matter and commanded the space around them. By 1987, the artist began to work with stone, a material that is favored by experts in the craft. Many of these stone works focused on dualities in man and nature, such as earth and sky, mind and body, and lightness and darkness. They were highly acclaimed and sold well at show around the world.


Never one to rest on past successes, Mr. Kapoor switched to an even more intractable material in 1995—stainless steel. When polished, the highly-reflective surface distorted the surroundings of the sculpture for the viewer. Some of the artist’s most ambitious work are made of this mirror-like material that help him play with and manipulate form and space in profound and personal ways.

What does the future hold for Mr. Anish Kapoor? In late 2012, he has a major exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia. Anish Kapoor at the MCA, Sydney will run from December 2012 to April 2013. It is his first major exhibition of art in a Sydney museum. General admission for Anish Kapoor at the MCA, Sydney starts at $20 for adults and $50 for families.

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