Sympathy for a Beloved Sun

Artist: Anish Kapoor
Location: Berliner Festspiele, Berlin
Completion: 2013

Set in the main atrium space of the iconic legendary Martin Gropius Bau Museum in the centre of Berlin, this installation is instantly recognisable as a Kapoor classic.

Four enormous conveyor belts project out from the floor and walls, supported on slender steel trussed legs and cantilever out into the space, carrying the trademark red wax. Squelching its way along the belts, the wax ultimately and inevitably ends up in an organic splattered heap on the floor in front of the central focus of the room - the Beloved Sun.

This sun is a perfectly flat, 10m diameter disc, formed from a lightweight steel structure with tensioned fabric surfaces on both sides. The frame work forming the disc had to resist the enormous forces required to generate the level of flatness required in the red surfaces, while incorporating a mechanism to allow invisible fixing of the fabric around the perimeter.

The whole assembly forms an immense sail that is perched 5m above the ground on two disproportionately light structural legs. These legs needed to be sufficiently stiff to provide resistance to overturning without the assistance of any positive fixing to the structure of the existing building or leaving any permanent markings on its fabric.