Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui is held at the the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach from April 11 to August 10. The exhibition features twelve monumental metal wall and floor sculptures that are widely considered to represent the apex of El Anatsui‘s career. Moreover, a series of drawings illuminate the artist’s process, while wooden wall reliefs reference his extensive work in other materials and exhibit relationships to the large metal pieces.
The African artist, drawing on the artistic and aesthetic traditions of his birthplace in Ghana, his home in Nigeria and various Western art forms and movements, expresses personal, local and global concerns in his works. He has experimented with a variety of media, among them wood, ceramics and paint. Recently, he has focused on working with discarded metal materials, for which he is best known today, to create pieces that erase the traditional distinction between painting and sculpture.
Anatsui‘s bent, twisted and pieced together discarded aluminum bottle tops, seals and labels produced by local distilleries, transforming these objects into massive, richly colored and luxuriously textured tapestries. These artworks have a deep metaphorical and poetic meaning. According to the artist, the materials used “become loaded—’charged’ is maybe the right word—with a lot of meaning…the various states that they’ve gone through or the various uses that they’ve been put to—this is all written upon them.”
This is a travelling exhibition and, depending on the venue, these works are condensed, expanded or reshaped to fit the space and sensibility of each institution.
El Anatsui was born in Ghana in 1944, he has lived and worked in Nigeria since 1978. Anatsui’s work is included in numerous public and private collections including the British Museum; Centre Georges Pompidou; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Akron Art Museum, among many others. He participated in the Venice Biennale in 1990 and again in 2007, when his large metal works made a huge impact, catapulting Anatsui to worldwide prominence after forty years of working as an artist. A traveling retrospective, El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You About Africa, was organised by the Museum for African Art in 2010.
Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui is organised by Ellen Rudolph, former Interim Chief Curator of the Akron Art Museum, in collaboration with the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery in New York.
Friday, 11 April 2014
Sunday, 10 August 2014
2100 collins avenue, Miami Beach
+305 673 7530
Bass Museum of Art
- Opening hour:
Wed – Sun | 12noon- 5pm; Fri 12noon – 9pm
- Closing day:
Mon – Tue
$8, $6 reduced
- Photo credits:
World Red Eye, Courtesy of El Anatsui