Kapoor in Italy

Anish Kapoor and Massimo Minini in Carlo Scarpa's garden at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, May 2018

Anish Kapoor, one of the greatest sculptors of our time, loves Italy, a country where art has been being produced for thousands of years and where he most importantly has friends, admirers and collectors. But also an incredible history and past that he embraces with keen intelligence.

For Kapoor, Italy is also a source of inspiration for materials. Years ago, he asked me to go to Carrara and Pietrasanta to see where he might be able to create some new works. I visited all the workshops and found a few where Kapoor would later have some important sculptures made. Amidst all the marble that Italy has to offer and out of all of its craftsmen, in the end we found an ultra-modern workshop in Brescia, with sophisticated machines that made it possible for him to create sculptures that would have been impossible otherwise.

Photographs from the installation of “Anish Kapoor | Wall Drawings,” Massimo Minini Gallery, Brescia, January – March 2017

Kapoor chose a black block that weighed twenty tons and had it cut vertically in half. Imagine the marble in its natural state, straight from the quarry, its two inner surfaces facing one another, perfectly smooth. On these inner surfaces, he carved two arcs, also glossy.

The stones were set up at the entrance to the 1998 exhibition like a door. When you walked between them, you could see yourself reflected in the flat surface as well as the arcs. If you spoke, sang or shouted, the sound would echo back, amplified.

Installation view of Anish Kapoor’s exhibition, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia, December 1998 – April 1999. Courtesy the artist and Galleria Massimo Minini. Photo: Attilio Maranzano

This experience left Kapoor wanting to work with other volumes and stones, and to spend time in Venice, where he could be inspired by the city’s spaces and light and the glories in the collection of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, which will host its first major exhibition of a British artist’s work during the 2022 Venice Biennale. The exhibition will be curated by the art historian Taco Dibbits, who dared to pair Kapoor with Rembrandt in 2016 at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, where he had just become general director.

Find out other tips they talk about