Anish Kapoor is an artist well-known for courting controversy with his bold and brash sculptures. From the well-known ‘Cloud Gate’ piece in Chicago’s Millennium Park to the widely criticised ‘ArcelorMittal Orbit’ outside London’s Olympic Park, debate surrounding his work has been raging.
Kapoor’s 1992 piece, ‘Descent into Limbo’, however, has recently drawn attention for somewhat more bizarre reasons.
An eager tourist visiting the Serralves Museum in Porto, Portugal, where the piece is installed, has been hospitalised after falling into the installation itself.
In some ways, the piece was an accident waiting to happen thanks to its illusory powers. Indeed, it consists of a cube-shaped building which is hollowed out with a 2.5 metre hole. This hole is painted black, thereby giving the impression that the drop is infinite. Scores of visitors pore over its hypnotic view every day.
Fortunately, the affected visitor – an Italian man in his 60s – was not seriously injured, and is reported to be recovering well.
Following the incident, the area of the museum where ‘Descent into Limbo’ is displayed has been cordoned off so repairs can be made. Spokespeople for the museum claim that all required security measures had been followed at the time of the accident, and a member of gallery staff was on hand to help out.
As yet, it is not clear whether the man fell directly into the hole or around its general vicinity. However, the museum plans to put up additional warning signs to prevent further accidents.
‘Descent into Limbo’ is not the only example of Kapoor’s experiments with the power of paint to create optical wonders.
In 2016 for example, he acquired exclusive rights to a pigment known as Vantablack, a revolutionary shade that is said to be the blackest black ever created. Vantablack paint was developed by British company NanoSystems, and creates the illusion of dark voids and empty spaces. This is because it absorbs 99.96 percent of light. When light hits Vantablack, it gets trapped inside the material instead of bouncing off, and is perpetually deflected by a series of microscopic vertical tubes in the pigment. What this produces is a truly hypnotic effect. Let’s just hope that Kapoor’s hypnotic ventures into Vantablack do not cause viewers of his work any injuries in future!
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