Art has evolved from representing the world realistically to distorting and even eliminating realism. Through this, artists are able to convey deeper underlying messages across to the viewer by combining the viewer’s individual response to the artwork and their interpretations. Artists such as Anish Kapoor and Ernesto Neto are two prime example of artists that allow more personal, individual responses from the viewer to make their artworks more confronting and intimate.
Anish Kapoor is well known for creating incredibly strange artworks that seem to be simple installations at first glance, but turn into channels of deep questioning for the viewer. In Kapoor’s installation, “Oracle,” features a large sandstone block with a very precise rectangle cut into the side of the block. This rectangle acts like a void for the viewer, making the work more complicated. The void is penetrable and is a black abyss in a solid form making the viewer question what the artwork is about. There is no realism in “Oracle,” which allows a more personal response towards the artwork itself. “Oracle,” makes the viewer question and consider why there could possibly be a deep hole in the sandstone block, creating the notion of fragility even in something so strong. The void suggests nothingness in something so permanent, perhaps hinting that in certain aspects of life may seem permanent, but often there is a void, that raises questions in terms of what the meaning of life is. The artwork acts as a channel of questions and challenges what the viewer already knows which is an effect of eliminating any realistic portrayals.
Kapoor’s “Sky Mirror,” is also another example of an artwork that allows individuals to respond to it more personally. “Sky Mirror” features a large circular mirror that reflects the world up above, bringing what seems so far away to individuals, closer to them. The installation presents an inversion of the skyline, vividly displaying the beauty and the peace of what is above a bustling city. The reflection can be interpreted as a void, which is a common theme in Kapoor’s artworks. Amongst a busy city, there seems to be a peaceful, untouched window or abyss that portrays nothingness. “Sky Mirror” diverts our attention to appreciate the natural beauty of the clouds, sky and sun that people often take for granted. Through eliminating reality and inverting the reflection of the sky, Kapoor allows individuals to surrender themselves and contemplate what life is through the temporary nature of artwork. “Sky Mirror” is ever changing depending on the time, creating a notion of the unstable nature of life which relates to “Oracle.”
Another of Kapoor’s installations which was exhibiting in Sydney recently is, “My Body, Your Body.” This installation from afar seems to mimic that of a painting hanging in a gallery, however, the installation has a void in the centre. The dark navy blue hue gradually changes into a black which helps camouflage the void, making it a subtle, yet powerful component of the installation. Again, the ideology of nothingness and the meaning of life becomes a prominent topic. The void acts like an abyss, tempting the audience to feel how deep the space of complete darkness goes on for. The void reminds the audience of a black hole, which is known to encapsulate everything, where it disappears into the nothingness of time. “My Body, Your Body,” does not portray anything realistic, making it easier for the audience to form an intimate reaction with it. It allows the work to become a confidante for the audience, creating a space of questions about what life is about. The void is a hole that is endless which can be reflected in human lives. As humans, we do not know how long our life will go for, which is exactly like the void itself. The elimination of reality heightens the response from the