Reflective surfaces have become a hallmark of Anish Kapoor’s sculpture. One of his most iconic public works, Cloud Gate, in Chicago is a celebration of a mirrored surface and form, reflecting back the environment and its occupants.
Connecting all of his themes is Kapoor’s use of immersivity. From large-scale installations to more intimate pieces, Kapoor seeks to subsume the viewer within a world of light and color. In doing so, Kapoor pushes the viewer to consider their own place – within society, within their personal relationships, within the larger cosmos. The work does not exist without that interaction of object and viewer.
Mirrors have had a long and potent history as a symbol. Think of Perseus using his shield as a mirror against Medusa, the mirror given to Jia Rui and the interaction of Granny Liu with the large mirror in Dream of the Red Chamber/Story of the Stone, or Alice falling through the looking glass. Mirrors are not just tools but imbued with symbols – warnings of carnal pleasure, totems of modernity, protectors, or devices to upend our own worldly perceptions. Kapoor’s series of mirrors continue this tradition, opening doorways to new insight within ourselves and beyond in the natural world.
In this piece, Kapoor pushes back against the inherent narcissism of mirrors – the desire to look at oneself. The pleats are more than an aesthetic choice. The folds obscure the viewer so that they see everything but themselves. And even in this, the world around the viewer becomes fractured and splintered. One must focus to make sense of the reflected surroundings. Like Alice in Wonderland, the world is on its head, and like Granny Liu, we confront this familiar object anew. Kapoor’s mirrors are never straightforward. Whether concave or tilted, this distortion expands our visual observations to provide interior insight into ourselves and the world.
This sculpture was made the same year as Kapoor’s triumphant Sky Cloud in New York. Cate McQuaid, art critic for the Boston Globe, notes that Halo “draws viewers like flies”, and “you may see others, but it’s hard to find yourself.” This physical manifestation points to the more figurative difficulty to look within, to know oneself.
Top Results at Auction
Comparable Works Sold at Auction
- Comparable grooved stainless steel piece
- Smaller than the offered piece by about 1/4 and has a textured surface
- Sold for over $1.5M at auction nearly 8 years ago
- Another smaller example in stainless steel
- Sold for more than $1.8M at auction 7 years ago
- Kapoor made many more discs with a smooth mirror finish, as opposed to the rarity of the present work with a fan or accordion pattern
- Smaller stainless steel example
- The fractured surface is less common than the discs with a smooth mirror finish, though still more common than our unique large-scale fan-pattern piece