Budo, which describes the colour of the present work in Japanese, is one of Anish Kapoor's most recent incantations to the poetic mystery and power of void. Immaculately made from carved wood sumptuously covered in a radiant burgundy lacquer, it is a work whose luscious and rich sense of its own skin and surface is used to seduce the viewer, with its deep colour and glass-like light-reflective surface, into a confrontation with the vertiginous void at its centre.
In such works Kapoor aims to prompt in the viewer an existential awareness of immateriality through their own inner experience and even vertiginous desire for the apparent emptiness and nothingness that seems to both occupy and form the heart of the work. 'Void is really a state within', he has said, 'It has a lot to do with fear, in Oedipal terms, but more so with darkness. There is nothing so black as the black within. No blackness is as black as that. I am also aware that phenomenological experience on its own is insufficient. I find myself coming back to the idea of narrative without storytelling, to that which allows one to bring in psychology, fear, death and love in as direct a way as possible. This void is not something which is of no utterance. It is a potential space, not a non-space.' (Anish Kapoor cited in Germano Celant, Anish Kapoor, Milan, 1998, pp. XXIX-XXX)
In Budo Kapoor has developed this sense of 'space' and 'non-space' into a unique play between a sense of the material and the immaterial within the luscious plastic surface of the sculpture itself. A combination of plastic materiality, spotless, rich deep pure colour and a highly reflective surface that mirrors the 'reality' of the world around it, this lacquer sculpture seems to hover miraculously on the edge of the two realms of existence that the black-hole at its centre seems to mark and divide like a mystic portal. It is, in particular, this 'oneiric' or dreamlike quality of his sculpture - their ability to invoke a sense of transcending the physical and marking the borderline between being and non-being - that Kapoor has said is so important to him. This is why, in his most recent works, the concept of his sculptures as surface and skin and being a unique and fascinating membrane between the material and the immaterial worlds, has become increasing pronounced. 'The idea', he has said, is ultimately, 'to make an object which is not an object, to make a hole in the space, to make something which actually does not exist.' (Ibid)