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Sculptor Anish Kapoor carves out wide reputation

October 2006
Sculptor Anish Kapoor carves out wide reputation

After Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" was installed in Chicago's Millennium Park last year, the futuristic sculpture – dubbed the Bean – quickly became a hit with residents and visitors. Weighing 125 tons and built at a cost of $10 million, it's a mammoth yet gracefully curved steel object, whose glittering surfaces distort reflections in the manner of fun-house mirrors. The sculpture presents, one might say, an otherworldly version of the cityscape. The son of a Hindu father and Jewish mother (her father, a Baghdadi Jew, was the Cantor at a synagogue in Pune), Kapoor grew up in India and attended Doon School in Dehradun. Moving to England at the age of 18, he studied art before launching his career in the late ‘70s. His Indian background and the use of bold colors, unusual back then in the Western milieu, turned him into a niche artist whose work was seen as exotic. The current art world is dramatically different, and Kapoor has also come a long way. But ironically, he is now more conscious of his background. "I feel it's important, yes," he told BBC. "I mean, one can hardly be Indian and not know that almost every accent, which hand you eat your food with, has some deeper symbolic truth, reality." He also emphasized the mythological power and richness of Indian life. Kapoor's other permanent installations include a stone arch at a lake in Norway and a sculpture ("Marsyas") at Tate Modern in London. A recipient of the Turner Prize, Kapoor's reputation in the U.S. is growing. One of his temporary sculptures ("Sky Mirror") is being installed at Rockefeller Center in New York, and he's been working on a permanent memorial in downtown Manhattan for the British victims of 9/11.

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