The Cloud Gate Becomes the Void Gate

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Anish Kapoor – Cloud Gate / before & after

The “Cloud Gate”, Anish Kapoor’s iconic public sculpture placed in Millennium Park of Chicago, recently encountered an unexpected creative twist. Issued by artist himself, the change could be regarded as extreme, controversial, trendy or deeply conceptual.

Kapoor covered the mirror-like surface with something that seems to be exactly the opposite – a deep black material called Vantablack. Vantablack, labeled as ‘the blackest black ever’, because it absorbs up to 99.96 percent of light (radiation in the visible spectrum), was initially developed by British company Surrey NanoSystems for military purposes and astronomy equipment. Anish Kapoor who gained exclusive rights in using this material for artistic purposes, says that he plans to explore it further and review many of his famous art pieces within the next years.

The project itself is challenging not just through the way contemporary art meets high-technology, but also in the way it blends with the work of an artist like Anish Kapoor. While the idea of an artist adhering to a specific ‘color’ and making it ‘his own’ created a buzz around the art community, I guess this is not the main attraction here. However, it has happened before (see the Yves Klein blue – IKB).

The project of reformulating referential art works, so well ingrained both in artist’s track record and in public consciousness, this is really challenging. I love the perspective of iconic art pieces seen as work in progress, projects that can be periodically revised, evolving in new unexpected ways. I love the idea that something like the Cloud Gate might not remain forever a mirror of the clouds, and one fine day might become “a void of nothingness”.

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