New York

Anish Kapoor

Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

The marvel of Anish Kapoor’s sandstone sculptures (all 1993) is that they are able to renew the sense of enigma and ineffability that the best abstract art affords while seemingly not bound by the terms of its history, even as it uses them. Kapoor’s stone is so uncannily equated with itself that it becomes unrepresentable, that is, untranslatable into terms other than its own.

Through this ironic irreconcilability, Kapoor’s stone achieves a “transcendent” state of self-identity with no need of a code—not even that of the “sublime,” which measures transcendence by human expectations—to be brought to consciousness. Indeed, he subtly stretches ironic irreconcilability to the limit, making it appear freshly radical. Paradoxically, he makes hard stone seem soft in a way that abstracts and “real-izes” hardness with special poignancy; he smooths rough-cut stone in a way that makes its roughness

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