ANISH KAPOOR (B. 1954)
ANISH KAPOOR (B. 1954)
ANISH KAPOOR (B. 1954)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
ANISH KAPOOR (B. 1954)

White Dark XIII

Details
ANISH KAPOOR (B. 1954)
White Dark XIII
signed and dated 'Anish Kapoor 2005' (on the reverse)
fibreglass and paint
55 1/8 x 55 1/8 x 14 1/8in. (140 x 140 x 36cm.)
Executed in 2005
Provenance
Lisson Gallery, London.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2006.
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

A gleaming white porthole into the void, White Dark XIII is the last in a series of thirteen same-titled sculptures that Anish Kapoor produced between 1995 and 2005. Composed of painted fibreglass, and spanning nearly a metre and a half in diameter, it offers a vision of dematerialised beauty, animated solely by the play of light and shadow across its sensuous concave form. Forming a counterpart to the celebrated mirror sculptures that Kapoor began during the mid-1990s, the artist’s fibreglass works continue his investigations into the abstract, sensory experience of light, colour and space. Taking numerous forms—some square, some circular, some hollow, some wall-mounted—the White Dark sculptures are deliberately drained of pigment, standing in pure, minimalist contrast to his bright monochrome creations. In the present work, the pristine surface seems to absorb the clamour of its surroundings, drawing the viewer into a world of silent, serene contemplation.

Coming to prominence in the 1980s, Kapoor drew inspiration from his Minimalist forebears, including Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt. Like these artists, Kapoor sought a self-sufficient existence for his creations, which—he believed—were devoid of external references or narratives. Works such as the present come to life in their interaction with the viewer’s perceptual faculties, dissolving as definable objects and melting into pure abstract experience. Integral to Kapoor is the idea of the self-generated form, understood in Sanskrit by the term ‘Svayambhu’. This fundamental concept underpins his notion of the work as seemingly self-manifested, the absence of the hand and gesture positioning it beyond the self and potentially within a realm of timelessness. In White Dark XIII and its companions, Kapoor’s use of white conjures the proto-Minimalist ‘ground zero’ sought by many European artists in the aftermath of the Second World—among them Günther Uecker, Piero Manzoni, Enrico Castellani and Lucio Fontana—who revelled in the hue’s ability to showcase phenomena such as light, movement and spatial depth.

Kapoor’s broader philosophies, however, ultimately look back to an earlier source: the Romantic notion of the ‘sublime’. Epitomised in art by works such as Caspar David Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818), the term described the terrifying, overwhelming sense of awe that humankind experienced in attempting to comprehend nature, the universe and other phenomena that exceeded the limits of the imagination. The critic Robert Rosenblum would later revive the concept in relation to the Abstract Expressionists, who used colour, scale and surface to invoke similar experiences of transcendental wonder. Through his cavernous, void-like creations, Kapoor extends this paradigm into the realm of sculpture, seeking to induce ‘a modern sublime, a “now” sublime, a “here” sublime’ (A. Kapoor, quoted in D. de Salvo, ‘Anish Kapoor in Conversation,’ in D. Anfam (ed.), Anish Kapoor, London 2012, p. 403). Standing before the present work, time and place appear to stand still: the smooth white interior seems to extend indefinitely, like a portal into the unknown.

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