Anish Kapoor’s first virtual reality work, Into Yourself, Fall, takes users on a journey through the human body, experiencing the sensation of falling into yourself via the immersive headset. Kapoor’s work seeks to simulate vertigo as a descent inside the human body, depicting a labyrinth of the inner workings of the self.
Starting the journey in a forest scene, in a clearing surrounded by trees, viewers encounter a large black void in the ground. Users then travel through a complex series of tunnels with walls that appear to be made of sinewy flesh and muscle. With this work, Kapoor invites users to experience a surreal sensation of exploring the unknown, with viewers losing themselves in another realm.
Working with Acute Art to design this custom made virtual space, Kapoor’s work was developed around the idea of creating a physical experience via a virtual journey, testing the limits of what is possible to experience through the technology. Into Yourself, Fall plays with the experience of wearing the headset, creating a disorientating sensation of radical introspection that is experienced physically by the viewer.
Kapoor’s use of this new technology enables him to explore materiality in a virtual realm, drawing on his highly influential sculptural practice to evoke both tactility and transcendence. With a soundtrack created by the artist’s son Ishan Kapoor, Into Yourself, Fall directly transports the viewer into the artist’s own visceral virtual reality.
Pushing the Boundaries of Virtual Reality
The artist Anish Kapoor discusses his first virtual reality work Into Yourself, Fall — an immersive journey into the unknown
‘One of the things I’m concerned with is the relationship between materiality and non-materiality,’ says artist Anish Kapoor, discussing Into Yourself, Fall — his first virtual reality work, produced in collaboration with Acute Art, which aims to create a physical sensation through a virtual journey.
‘I believe we can do something technologically, if we can see it,’ says Kapoor, who cites artistic vision as the only limit to what virtual reality can do. ‘I’ve spent years looking for a state that is more material than material.’ Into Yourself, Fall, he explains, provided an opportunity to approach this state, resulting in a work that is both visceral and transcendental.
Kapoor’s interest in materiality has inspired some of his best-known art: in Chicago, the reflective exterior of Cloud Gate (2006) warps and multiplies reflections, causing the physical world to shift and appear unstable. Viewed in certain conditions, the sculpture’s edge becomes indiscernible from surrounding sky.
Other sculptures feature deep cavities that suggest a void — a ‘nothing’ which, Kapoor has reasoned, is nevertheless ‘something’. In other works, intense red pigment evokes internal organs and blood-filled capillaries. Into Yourself, Fall combines concerns at the heart of Kapoor’s practice, transporting viewers into their own visceral virtual reality.
About Anish Kapoor
Anish Kapoor, CBE, RA, was born in Mumbai, India in 1954. He first gained recognition in the 1980s for his large-scale, biometric and geometric sculptures, created from materials including granite, marble and plaster. By the 1990s, his practice had evolved to incorporate forms that appeared to stretch, recede and distort the space around them. The approach informed major public commissions including Chicago’s Cloud Gate (2005) (colloquially known as ‘the Bean’) and Sky Mirror, exhibited at the Rockefeller Center in New York City in 2008. Red pigment features regularly in his output, evoking earth, blood and the body.
Kapoor has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2016), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2012), the École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (2011), and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2010). His public commissions include ArcelorMittal Orbit (2012), a permanent artwork for London’s Olympic Park, and Turning the World Upside Down (2010), for the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Kapoor represented Britain in the 44th Venice Biennale in 1990, where he was the recipient of the Premio Duemila Prize. In 1991, he received the Turner Prize and, in 2002, received the Unilever Commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Kapoor has lived and worked in London since the early 1970s, where he studied at Chelsea School of Art and Design.
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