Sunday, January 2, 2011

El Anatsui

Born in 1944, in the Ewe-speaking area of Ghana, El Anatsui, is today recognised as one of the foremost contemporary artists of his generation. Taking the broad spectrum of indigenous African cultures as an extended canvas, his central themes concern the erosion of these inherited traditions by powerful external forces and the manner of their survival and transmission into the present. His deftly-organised and sophisticated work represents an original synthesis of the many diverse histories of African art with more modern influences picked out from the prevailing paradigm of contemporary western art. In 2007 El Anatsui exhibited at the 52nd Venice Biennale with a site-specific installation. He transformed one of Venices most celebrated Gothic landmarks, wrapping the fa├žade of the Palazzo Fortuny in a vast metal cloth woven from thousands of glimmering bottle caps. As part of the Big Art Project El Anatsui become the third artist to put his unique stamp on The Big 4, the installation that brought Channel 4’s logo to life on the steps of the channel’s Horseferry Road headquarters. El recently exhibited at the 3rd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.

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