British sculptor Anish Kapoor turns 63 on March 12. The 1991 winner of the Turner Prize, Kapoor is known for his large-scale abstract public sculptures, the most famous of which include Chicago’s reflective “Bean,” properly known as Cloud Gate, and the giant ArcelorMittal Orbit tower in London.
He’s also made headlines for his embrace of Vantablack, the darkest substance known to man, exclusively licensing it for artistic use—a controversial move that has attracted a great deal of criticism.
Last September, artnet News sat in on a lunch with Kapoor in Seoul, on the occasion of the opening of a solo exhibition of his work at Kukje Gallery. In celebration of the anniversary of his birth, here’s a few of the best Kapoor quotes from that wide-ranging conversation.
1. On the art world:
“The art world is so cynical… The art world’s such a weird place.”
2. On how audiences receive his art:
“In a way there’s no accounting for what happens to a work. I’ve always thought that the more ways you can read a work, the better it is for the work.”
3. On the advantage of the gallery show:
“The great thing about galleries as opposed to museums or other public institutions is that they are places in which one can try out a body of work.”
4. On staying in the critic’s good graces:
“The art world is obsessed with youth. The first 10 years are easy. After that, you have to fulfill the promise that might have been there in the earlier work.”
5. On what might come next:
“I’ve never made a film. I’d love to—I don’t know how to. I’m not afraid.”
6. On the big challenges faced by artists:
“To keep the work alive, to keep one’s self alive—it’s hard.”
7. On the rise of the celebrity artist:
“Artists are not pop stars. At our peril do we become pop stars… It’s important that we remember that there’s a difference. That art is a very down to earth profession.”
8. On not worrying about expectations:
“You can’t make art for other people. You can’t make art for an audience. I think the challenges that one has as an artist are with one’s self… If it works me me, it’ll work for you.”
9. On the secret to his success:
“I’m just really really talented. No! Hard work and lots of luck.”
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