This review considers the Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui’s recent work—stitched “cloth” made from recycled liquor-bottle caps—in the context of his entire artistic production and his “remix and recycle” ethos. By transforming glittering gold-colored bottleneck wrappers and silvery bottle caps into a new kind of luxury, Anatsui presents the viewer with an impressive visual coup. Part of the sensation of luxurious beauty is due to the viewer’s awareness of the intensive manual labor that went into making the works. The review also examines the tendency of Anatsui’s recent sculpture to elicit comparisons to woven cloth, chain mail, mosaics, and so on. Anatsui’s own invitation of such semiotic fluidity is considered in light of his work’s titles. The “meaning” of these recent pieces is to be found in two dimensions: the comparative resonances they set up in the viewer’s mind, and the knowledge that these are the works of many hands.
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Other| November 01 2010
Nka (2010) 2010 (27): 120–121.
Yemi Onafuwa; El Anatsui. Nka 1 November 2010; 2010 (27): 120–121. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10757163-2010-27-120
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