The practice of El Anatsui (b. 1944, Anyako, Ghana), possibly the most prominent African artist today, exemplifies a neverending search for models that offer an alternative to the modernist canons of purity. Anatsui has lived in Nigeria since 1975, the year when he arrived at the vibrant Department of Fine Arts and Applied Arts of the University of Nsukka, constantly developing ideas that combine the experimental spirit with the belief that art may happen anywhere in the world, not only in metropolitan cultural centers. This retrospective will be the most ambitious ever presented of Anatsui’s career, and will cover all the series and mediums used by the artist over five decades of work. As suggested by the title, the exhibition pays special attention to the most monumental aspect of Anatsui’s sculptures, through emblematic pieces created over the past twenty years with plastic bottle caps as fundamental component. Alongside these works of imposing magnitude and blinding color, the show will offer the opportunity to discover new works by the artist, as well as wood sculptures and reliefs from the 1970s to the 1990s, ceramic works from his earliest years, as well as drawings, engravings, and artist sketchbooks.
Exhibition organized by Haus der Kunst, Munich, in cooperation with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; Kunstmuseum Bern; and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Curators: Chika Okeke-Ogulu, Damian Lentini, and Lekha Hileman Waitoller
Gravity and Grace, 2010
Aluminum and copper wire
482 x 1120 cm
Collection of the Artist, Nsukka, Nigeria,
© El Anatsui. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York