Birthday greetings to a formidable, world-renowned sculptor (with dibs on ‘the blackest black’)

Home » Birthday greetings to a formidable, world-renowned sculptor (with dibs on ‘the blackest black’)
The Leviathan by Anish Kapoor at Grand Palais | Via Wikimedia Commons

March 12, On This Day

Anish Kapoor | Via Wikimedia Commons

To say Anish Kapoor is a byword in the global art world would be to make a bit of an understatement.

The highly influential British-Indian sculptor is supremely well-known for his abstract biomorphic forms, creating elegant geometries using feats of engineering. His edgy, large-scale public installations have captured imaginations worldwide, as has the Vantablack controversy he was involved in.

Kapoor was born on March 12, 1954, and turns 68 today. His initial years were spent in Mumbai, with an Iraqi Jewish mother and Indian Punjabi Hindu father. In 1971 he moved to Israel with one of his two brothers, initially living on a kibbutz. This is the land where he decided to become an artist. Today, his public commissions dot the world — Italy, France, Canada, Norway, the UK and much more.

Kapoor started using simple materials such as granite, limestone, marble, pigment and plaster manifesting in remarkable, highly polished surfaces, using powder pigment to define the form.

Since 1995, he has worked with the highly reflective surface of polished stainless steel. These works are mirror-like, reflecting or distorting the viewer and surroundings. The use of red wax is also part of his repertoire, evocative of flesh, blood, and transfiguration.

Tall Tree & The Eye by Anish Kapoor in Bilbao | Via Wikimedia Commons
ArcelorMittal Orbit by Anish Kapoor at London Olympic Park | Via Wikimedia Commons

From the blackest black to the pinkest pink

In 2014, Kapoor began working with Vantablack, a substance thought to be one of the least reflective substances known, also called the “blackest black” colour. It was exclusively licensed to Kapoor’s studio for artistic use — a move criticized in the art world and defended by him.

In retaliation, artist Stuart Semple developed a pigment called the “pinkest pink” and specifically made it available to everyone, except Kapoor and anyone affiliated with him. In December 2016, Kapoor illegally obtained the pigment and posted an Image on Instagram of his extended middle finger which had been dipped in Semple’s pink. Semple went on to develop “Black 2.0” and “Black 3.0” (nearly identical to Vantablack despite being acrylic) and “Diamond Dust,” an extremely reflective glitter made of glass shards, again all released with the same restrictions against Kapoor.

Vantablack | Via Wikimedia Commons
Kapoor’s reaction to Semple’s pinkest-pink | | Via Instagram