Sir Anish Kapoor, CBE, is a controversial British-Indian sculptor. He was born in 1954 in Bombay, India, and has been a British citizen since coming to London in the 1970s. His work mainly deals with blood, women’s genitalia, light, and negative spaces (what he calls “The Void”). For more on Anish Kapoor, here are some facts:
1. He often collaborates with people from other fields for his work.
- Many of these collaborators include engineers, architects, and other designers.
- He has also worked with writers, and his most famous collaborator is the equally controversial author, Salman Rushdie, who penned The Moor’s Last Sigh and The Satanic Verses, among others.
2. Kapoor’s work has been exhibited in famous museums, parks, galleries, and historical landmarks the world over.
- A sampling of these places include New York’s Rockefeller Center, London’s Kensington Gardens, and Versailles, France’s Palace of Versailles.
- He also has a permanent sculpture on display at London’s Olympic Park. The sculpture, titled Orbit, was the official artwork for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
3. He is a recipient of many awards, grants, a knighthood, and even an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford.
- One of his most distinguished prizes is the Premio Duemila Prize, which he won at the 1990 Venice Biennale.
- Being Jewish, he was also eligible for and won the USD $1 million Genesis Prize in 2017. This prize is awarded to individuals who show commitment to Jewish causes and have won international renown in their fields.
4. Kapoor was sued by a French politician for leaving anti-Semitic graffiti on his sculpture Dirty Corner.
- The sculpture, dubbed “the queen’s vagina” by French reporters, is on display at the Palace of Versailles.
- Kapoor allowed the graffiti to remain to show “humanity’s intolerance.” The sculpture was later covered in gold leaf.
5. He is the sole owner of Vantablack, a pigment and material known as “the closest thing in the universe to a black hole.” It absorbs 99.96% of light.
- British engineering company NanoSystems, which first developed Vantablack, chose Kapoor as the recipient of exclusive rights to use Vantablack because his oeuvre revolved around light and “the Void.”
- The backlash surrounding Kapoor’s ownership of the color reached fever pitch when fellow artist Eric Semple popularized the hashtag #sharetheblack on social media. Semple also developed the color “The Pinkest Pink” and made it available for purchase on the condition that buyers prove they were not Anish Kapoor, not affiliated to Anish Kapoor, and will not let the pigment fall into the hands of Anish Kapoor. Kapoor got his hands–rather, middle finger–into the pigment anyway, and posted a photo captioned “Up yours! #pink” on Instagram.
Whether you love him or hate him, it seems that Anish Kapoor and his artworks will be in the public sphere for a long time to come.
To learn more about other inspiring artists, check out their interesting facts here.