Indo-Iraqi sculptor's work unveiled in Chicago | india | Hindustan Times
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Indo-Iraqi sculptor's work unveiled in Chicago

Anish Kapoor, Iraqi-half Indian's $23 million creation, 'Cloud Gate' was unveiled at the Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 14:54 IST

From a distance it looks like a giant drop of glistening mercury, but up close it looks like a space ship that lost its way into the heart of downtown Chicago.

In reality it is Cloud Gate, one of the most anticipated sculptures of the celebrated half Indian-half Iraqi Jewish artist Anish Kapoor.

The 66-foot-long, 33-foot-high and 42-foot-high giant bean like 110-tonne sculpture made of highly polished stainless steel plate has now been officially unveiled in the Millennium Park, one of Chicago's most talked about public squares. The park is aimed at giving Chicago downtown a snazzier, modernistic look.

The $23 million sculpture was conceived in 1999 as a fantasy, then expected to cost $6 million. It was expected to be completed in July, 2004 but will be formally dedicated in May.

The 52-year-old Kapoor was born in Mumbai to a Punjabi-Hindu father and Iraqi-Jewish mother. After studying at the Doon School in Dehradun, Kapoor moved to England in 1972.

Over the past 20 years he has emerged as one of the most acclaimed sculptors in the world whose solo works have been exhibited in Kunsthalle Basel, Tate Gallery and Hayward Gallery in London, Reina Sofia in Madrid and CAPC in Bordeaux.

He has also been part of many group shows at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, The Royal Academy and Serpentine Gallery in London; Documenta IX in Kassel; Moderna Museet in Stockholm; and, Jeu de Paume and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

His public collections can be found at many prestigious institutions such as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC (U.S.), the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in Prato (Italy), Musee St. Pierre in Lyon (France) and the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia).

Kapoor's works stand out for their well-defined, precisely engineered lines. His pieces are both monochromatic and strikingly colored.

Although Cloud Gate makes an impact by itself, its greater appeal comes from its participatory nature. Because of its smooth beanlike shape in high gloss steel it encourages people to view it from different vantage points.

The many different kinds of reflections of both the people and the overwhelming Chicago skyline surrounding it together create the illusion of a futuristic society. The hollow underneath allows people to walk through it creating an even greater sense of participation.

According to a Wikipedia biography of Kapoor, "In the early 1980s, Kapoor emerged as one of a number of British sculptors working in a new style and gaining international recognition for their work (the others included Richard Wentworth, Tony Gragg, Richard Deacon, Anthony Gormley and Bill Woodrow)".