Collections and research

Absolute Installation

Anish Kapoor

The idea for the work "When I Am Pregnant" came to the artist on a trip to Uluru, the renowned sandstone rock formation in Australia.

© Anish Kapoor, When I Am Pregnant, 1992–1998, sculpture

In his notes he wrote: “white form on white wall”.¹ That is precisely what this work is. At first the exhibition space appears completely empty – the walls are freshly painted white, and the floor is devoid of objects. A round form resembling an abdomen in the later stages of pregnancy swells out of the wall. There are no edges or borders defining the form. It simply “is”. The fluid character of the installation is made manifest in the spaces between the art and the architecture; it is at once a monochrome painting, a sculpture and an installation, as well as being a wall.

The work appears as a dead object that both dismisses the biological while also relating directly to the body. The isolated body part invokes the rest of the body, and the very absence of this body generates a disturbing feeling that something is not entirely as it should be. Reducing the body to a “non-object” denotes the passage between the material and the immaterial, and invites us to look beyond what appears before the naked eye.

A parallel can be drawn between an abdomen, that contains and bears a new life, and the bulging form in the museum’s space. There exists, beyond the bloated “belly”, something permanent and vibrant – something substantial. The empty space need not simply be a room devoid of content; rather it can, by virtue of the viewer’s projections, be suffused with meaning and substance. Anish Kapoor was born in 1954 in Bombay, India. He lives and works in London.

Ahnikee Østreng

¹ ”Anish Kapoor”, Royal Academy of Arts, London, utstillingskatalog, 2009, s. 29