Mother as a Mountain (Red), 1985. Wood, gesso, and pigment, 140 x 275 x 105 cm. Photo: courtesy the artist.

Modern Sublime: A Conversation with Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor’s extraordinary projects have captured the imagination of the world. The sculptures that brought him to international attention in the 1980s were geometric and biomorphic configurations, covered with intensely colored powdered pigment. Since then he has developed a distinctive body of work using a wide range of materials, from natural substances to products of hi-tech manufacturing.

The transformative properties of Kapoor’s chosen materials are important. Rather than dealing purely with issues of form, his works address themes beyond material concerns and seem to hover between this world and an alternative form of existence. This tension was evident in the palpable friction of Marsyas (2002), an enormous, red, funnel-like structure that resisted the starkness of the Tate’s Turbine Hall. Likewise, the overwhelming, highly reflective, elliptical Cloud Gate (2004) seemingly pulsates with energy within Chicago’s Millennium Park.