There are artists who surprise you.
There are artists who are illusionists. They tip your mind upside down and shake out your preconceptions.
There are also artists who take everyday materials and turn them into something ravishingly beautiful.
Anish Kapoor does all of that.
I first saw his work in 1998 at the Hayward Gallery and recall lying on the floor looking up at a rich red cavity suspended from the ceiling. At the Edge of the World II is 8 metres in diameter and saturated in a deep red pigment. Am I looking up at a dome, with echoes of a religious building? Does the title hint at a spiritual experience? And is that the colour of our first resting place, a woman’s womb? I still recall the meditative, calm, contained sensation it induced - that is, after I’d got over the embarrassment of lying down in a gallery. (I was not the only one).
Fast forward to a bright sunny afternoon walk in the park. Here is one of Kapoor’s four mirror sculptures in Kensington Gardens. All the people in the picture are behind you (except for that hand on the right) What you see are their reflections, including that of the photographer. Under a sky the Simpsons would be proud of, Kapoor's burnished stainless steel arc has whisked a handful of strollers-in-the-park away into perpetual summer. They/we appear to be set apart, alive in another space, a community of people who have never met.