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Cloth of gold - El Anatsui

Article relating to an individual, 2012
Published by: Bonhams magazine
Year published: 2012
Number of pages: 4

image of Cloth of gold - El Anatsui

Substantial feature on El Anatsui that appeared in Bonhams magazine, Spring 2012, Issue 30, pages 24 - 27. Written by Christopher Lord, the text opened with ”El Anatsui takes discarded objects and through the alchemy of art turns them into powerful statements.” The piece reflected the extent to which El Anatsui’s stock, as an artist, had been steadily rising, year on year, for several decades. So much so that the work of his that occupied central position in the text  (New World Map, aluminium bottle caps and copper wire 340 x 500 cm) was declared to have an auction house estimate of £500,000 - 800,00 ($800,000 - 1,300,000).

Lord began his feature by offering a fascinating insight into the ways in which Anatsui worked. “At any one time, there can be 30 pairs of hands at at work in El Anatsui’s studio in Nsukka, south-eastern Nigeria. They crush bottle cap after bottle cap, folding the aluminium with careful fingers, before piercing and linking these together with copper wire

Anatsui insists on an atmosphere of silent industry. Dressed in overalls, he walks constantly around the team, watching strips of aluminium begin to form thin, rolled carpets of dull metal. The artist is looking for unbalanced repetition of colour and calling for more burnished reds here, yellows there. As Anatsui directs his men, it is like watching a conductor and orchestra.

Anatsui is amongst the most celebrated contemporary artists working in Africa. He has exhibited widely, with notable shows at the Hayward Gallery and Centre Pompidou. An extensive touring retrospective of his work, When I Last Wrote To You About Africa, continues its tour of North America until 2013.”

Related people

»  El Anatsui

Born, 1944 in Anyako, Ghana