Anish Kapoor

By Kuspit, Donald | Artforum International, March 1994 | Go to article overview

Anish Kapoor


Kuspit, Donald, Artforum International


BARBARA GLADSTONE GALLERY

The marvel of Anish Kapoor's sandstone sculptures (all 1993) is that they are able to renew the sense of enigma and ineffability that the best abstract art affords while seemingly not bound by the terms of its history, even as it uses them. Kapoor's stone is so uncannily equated with itself that it be comes unrepresentable, that is, untranslatable into terms other than its own.

Through this ironic irreconcilability, Kapoor's stone achieves a "transcendent" state of self-identity with no need of a code--not even that of the "sublime," which measures transcendence by human expectations--to be brought to consciousness. Indeed, he subtly stretches ironic irreconcilability to the limit, making it appear freshly radical. Paradoxically, he makes hard stone see soft in a way that abstracts and "real-izes" hardness with special poignancy; h smooths rough-cut stone in a way that makes its roughness uncannily emphatic an "ec-static," calling special perceptual attention to it. Above all, he voids th solidity of stone in a way that unexpectedly makes solidity seem all the more implacable. Ingeniously renewing the tension between contradictory properties and thus affording an epiphany of their relationship, Kapoor suggests that each property disputes the other, seems even determined to eliminate it, though they depend on each other. Kapoor not only declares the necessity of both properties (a sculpture that looked completely soft and was all smooth would seem unreal, and one in which solidity had been completely voided would not exist), but foregrounds the enigma of their inseparability and interplay.

Negative space is given a new, visionary dimension in Kapoor's sculptures, whic removes it altogether from the descriptive organic reference of, say, the voids of Henry Moore's figures. …

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