Description: TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN #4
Dimensions: 79 1/4 x 79 1/4 x 66 1/4 in. 201.3 x 201.3 x 168.3 cm.
Artist or Maker: ANISH KAPOOR b.1954
Medium: mirror-polished stainless steel
Date: Exectued in 1998, this work is number 2 from an edition of 3.
Exhibited: New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Anish Kapoor, April - May 1998
Literature: Nancy Princenthal, "Anish Kapoor at Barbara Gladstone", Art in America , July 1998, p. 91, illustrated in color (two views)
Provenance: Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York
Acquired by the present owner from the above
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Anish Kapoor's monumental sculpture, Turning the World Upside Down #4 embodies the reflective abilities of art while simultaneously demonstrating the alchemy of creation. From the beginning, Kapoor has always been fascinated with the construction of the universe and the viewer's relationship within it. He strives to create an art that is aesthetically impressive and optically mysterious, resulting in objects that never cease to amaze. However, his sculptures are not created with the intention of imposing particular ideas or beliefs upon the viewer. Instead he merely presents an object that is neither "abstract", conceptual nor overtly intellectual. Anthony Vidler explains, "they are [his sculptures], simply, what they appear to be," (Exh. Cat., New York, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, Whiteout: Anish Kapoor, 2004, p. 9). Further to this, Kapoor himself once stated, "Is it my role as an artist to say something, to express, to be expressive? ...I don't have any messages to give anyone. But it is my role to bring to expression, let's say, to define means that allow phenomenological and other perceptions which one might use, one might work with, and then move towards a poetic existence," (cited in Exh. Cat., London, Hayward Gallery, Anish Kapoor, 1998, p. 11).
The present work is from Kapoor's first series of large stainless steel "globes" that quite literally possess the ability to turn the word upside down. The light reflective material is a significant demonstration of Kapoor's earliest experiments with both this medium and the spherical shape. Continuing to work with one of the reoccurring themes in his oeuvre, Kapoor plays with the notion of the "void," by carving out a hole through the center of the once perfectly rounded object. This concave interior presents a vast abyss which distorts the viewer's reality, and therefore, intrinsically inverts the world upon itself. By using the bright reflective surface, the convex exterior portrays the sense of endless space and time, ever changing with the surrounding environment. These qualities, inherent in the polished and reflective surface, create a sculpture that embodies infinity and the "modern sublime"; a work that is positively awe-inspiring because of its metaphysical qualities and monumental scale. Through both its monumentality and transient beauty, Turning the World Upside Down # 4 is a paramount example of one of Kapoor's most significant sculptures which ultimately challenges the concept of the universe and the viewer's relationship within it.