El Anutsui art exhibition, review: ‘Hauntingly beautiful wall pieces’
- Credit: Archant
Signing the comments’ book on leaving the El Anatsui exhibition at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury, the challenge was to find an adjective to best convey the impression made by the Ghanaian sculptor’s remarkable wall pieces.
Could scintillating, mesmerising or simply beautiful do them justice? Whatever it might be, this haunting exhibition truly falls into the category of “if there’s one thing you see this week”.
El Anatsui is best known in London for TSIATSA – searching for connection, the 500 sq ft work made of aluminium bottle-tops, printing plates and roofing sheets which covered the façade of Burlington House during the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2013.
Most pieces in the current exhibition are also curtain-like installations, though much smaller, which explore the possibilities of bottle tops wired together into panels of metallic cloth.
For Warrior, pictured, the source of most tops is the intriguingly named Liquor Headmaster. El Anatsui’s signature carved and burnt tropical hardwood reliefs are also represented.
You may also want to watch:
Though his works have addressed social, political and historical concerns and often have poetic names, El Anatsui has said that he wants viewers to have individual trains of thought prompted by the pieces rather than attempt to understand “the meaning of the work”.
He has spent most of his career as a sculptor and teacher in Nigeria, where he was a professor at the university in Nsukka and part of the group of artists based there who revived the practice of uli designs, usually drawn on the body.
- 1 Petrol station forecourts closed and long queues in north London
- 2 'We've been forgotten': Homeless Muswell Hill family demand action
- 3 ‘I was livid': Outrage as Camden homeless man sprayed with hose
- 4 Mayor of Camden joins West Hampstead Primary School renaming fair
- 5 How did a double-decker bus crash straight into a Crouch End house?
- 6 Man jailed for rape of young girl in north London 40 years ago
- 7 'Land grab': Muswell Hill Gail's accused of taking over pavement
- 8 UK's first no chicken nugget shop pops up in Camden Town
- 9 Crunch! Eliana and Ariella's granola business success
- 10 Police name Newham man fatally shot in Haringey
The October Gallery staged his first solo exhibition in the UK in 1995. Last year he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.
El Anatsui: New Works runs until Saturday at 24 Old Gloucester Street WC1, Tuesday to Saturday 12.30pm to 5.30pm.
On the closing day at 3pm, the gallery’s artistic director Elisabeth Lalouschek will discuss the work with Gerald Houghton, director of special projects. £5 in advance or £8. Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 242 7367.