Anish Kapoor has been creating ‘spectacular’ artwork in the public domain for forty years, challenging our perceptions of space, through sculptural investigations of scale, texture, reflections and distorted surfaces. He describes his sculpture as “an ongoing investigation about the nature of objects and the emotions this prompts in each viewer at a given moment.” In works like Sky Mirror (2001), or Cloud Gate (2004) in the Millennium Park, Chicago, he uses mirror-like surfaces to reflect or distort the viewer and the natural environment. Marsyas, shown in 2002 at the Tate Turbine Hall, and his newest piece is Leviathan (2011), exhibited at Monumenta 2011 in the Grand Palais, Paris create environments within spaces. Ancelor Mittel Orbit, the tallest sculpture in Britain at 114.5-metres is being created for the Olympic Park for London 2012. Kapoor says: “I see it as one of the principle jobs of art and the artist to make things that in spite of all rationality remain mysterious.”
Previous Praemium Imperiale laureates for sculpture: Umberto Mastroianni, Arnaldo Pomodorio, Eduardo Chillida, Anthony Caro, Max Bill, Richard Serra, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, César, George Segal, Dani Karavan, Louise Bourgeois, Niki de Saint Phalle, Marta Pan, Guliano Vangi, Mario Merz, Bruce Nauman, Issey Miyake, Christian Boltanski, Tony Cragg, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Richard Long, Rebecca Horn.
The other Praemium Imperiale 2011 award winners are: Dame Judi Dench (Theatre/film), Ricardo Legoretta (Architecture), Bill Viola (Painting) and Seiji Ozawa (Music).
The Praemium Imperiale is a global arts prize awarded annually by the Japan Art Association, the oldest cultural foundation in Japan, founded in 1887. It was established to mark the centennial of the Japan Art Association and to honour the wish of the late Prince Takamatsu, its Honorary Patron for 58 years, “to contribute to enhancing and promoting the cultures and arts of the world”. Five Praemium Imperiale Awards in the categories of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/film have been made every year since its inauguration in 1989 to honour individuals from all over the world who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the arts. Each Laureate will receive an honorarium of 15 million yen (c. £115,000), a diploma and a medal. In addition, the Praemium Imperiale Grant for Young Artists for 2011, of 5 million yen (c. £36,000), has been jointly awarded to the Southbank Sinfonia, a young musicians’ orchestra, and the Royal Court Theatre Young Writers Programme, for their work in nurturing young talent.