The professional and personal life of El Anatsui, revolves around Ghana and Nigeria. He born in Ghana, but he have an intrinsic desire to connect to his continent while transcending the limitations of place and this it has become his flag.
El Anatsui is an internationally acclaimed artist who transforms simple materials into complex assemblages that create distinctive visual impact. His work can interrogate the history of colonialism and draw connections between consumption, waste, and the environment, but at the core is his unique formal language that distinguishes his practice.
Anatsui uses resources typically discarded such as liquor bottle caps and cassava graters to create sculpture that defies categorization.
Across a thousand miles of water, Jack Shainman, a Chelsea dealer, who always believed in his work; invited him to participate in a unique exhibition in his gallery The School: ‘El Anatsui: Five Decades’. The exhibition involves 40 works, marking the first anniversary of Shainman’s new space.
The reason because El Anatsui’s work is perfect for The School is because the sheer size, tells Shainman, referring to his 30,000-square-foot gallery with its soaring twenty-four-foot ceilings. The artist, who was recently awarded the Venice Biennale’s highest honour, the Golden Lion for Lifetime achievement is well-known for large scale sculptures , these intricate works, which can grow to be massive in scale, are both luminous and weighty, meticulously fabricated yet malleable.
The building of the Gallery is a former school in a federal revival building on a leafy street. Just two hours from Chelsea, The School is in close proximity to The Clark Institute and Mass MoCA, as well as the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College.
“I work more like a sculptor and a painter put together”
Anatsui is included in numerous private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Brooklyn Museum, New York, the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Washington, the Akron Art Museum, Ohio, the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri, the Museum Kunstpalast, Dusseldorf, the Setagaya Museum, Tokyo, and the British Museum, London.
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