His mastery over materials makes his expression of diverse topics unique because they’re conceptually hard-hitting yet visually mesmeric
Perhaps this British artist’s most iconic work is the one in Chicago’s Millennium Park in the USA. Titled Cloud Gate, the massive stainless steel sculpture is highly polished, which means it delightfully reflects everything around it but in a distorted fashion. This makes it not only a must-see but also perfect for both, unimaginative selfies as well as a wonderful pastime for tourists and their bored-by-sightseeing kids. At least this is what I observed as I stood awestruck before it on a windy afternoon in August 2012, amused that its weight (a cool 110-tons) or that its dimensions (it measures 66-feet in length by 33-feet in height, making it the largest outdoor sculpture of its kind in the world) is of little consequence to the people who are only interested in seeking the shade in the chamber below the concave elliptical sculpture. There they gaze in marvel at visuals of a world that is now stretched or squeezed into interesting proportions and bear striking resemblance to vistas that would be more at home in a Dr Seuss story book. And this is where the artistry of Anish Kapoor lies; his ability to manipulate pedestrian materials such as stainless steel, concrete, granite, felt, wax, water even, and elevate them to a position where they evoke new ways of seeing, and hence a radical shift in the way their viewers start thinking.
He got his public breakthrough while representing Britain during the 1990 Venice Biennale, and became the first living British artist to have the most successful exhibition ever when he took over the Royal British Academy in London in 2009 and his show attracted over 275,000 visitors. His works are coveted by the who’s who of the art and design world, and occupy pride of place in the hallowed halls of MoMA in NYC, Tate Modern in London, Milan’s Fondazione Prada, Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales and the topmost galleries and museums in Spain, the Netherlands, Stockholm, Japan and Jerusalem.
This doesn’t even begin to approach his genius in the field of creative collaborations where he has worked with renowned architects and engineers to craft everything from a travelling inflatable concert hall to an unapologetically and overtly sexual entrance to Cumana Station in Italy. So whether experiencing his public art or admiring his exhibited works in museums and galleries, never resist the draw they exert on your consciousness but always question the thoughts they unfailingly will elicit.