Known for sculptures in which the union between organic forms and sensual materials verges on the sublime, Anish Kapoor continues to map a spiritual terrain demarcated by a plastic vocabulary of voids, vessels, circles, and squares. Recently, his monumental pieces such as Marsyas, a Tate Unilever commission, Cloudgate, a permanent sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and Sky Mirror, a Public Art Fund project in New York City, have continued this conceptual program, though these prodigious works continue to be rooted in the exploration of shape, color, and line found in his works on paper.
Kapoor’s gouaches have been an integral aspect of his practice from the start, and in them the viewer can discern the forms and colors that dominate his sculptural works. Rigorously working the surface of the paper, Kapoor’s dense compositions recall myth, biology, and emotion. The figures that whirl across the surface or emerge from thick layers of gouache seem to be almost primeval, like Ur-signs speaking directly to innate human passions. Blood-red tendrils and black voids appear and reveal a darker, more intimately charged presence, as if these highly textured surfaces are the very corporeal tissues of the psyche. Kapoor’s works on paper remain exuberant in their expressive nature, exploring the more rough-hewn and chaotic side of his fascination with the sublime. Unlike the voids in his sculpture that descend into the depths of forms, the almond-shaped oblongs that appear in many of his gouaches have a presence that seems to radiate outward; though, like the sculptures these figures hold a similar consuming thrall over the viewer.