On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
A NEW SITE-SPECIFIC COMMISSION by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui officially opened today at Tate Modern in London. “El Anatsui: Behind the Red Moon” is a monumental representation of Anatsui’s extraordinary practice. The three-part installation speaks to human history, geographies, and the transatlantic slave trade.
The museum’s Hyundai Commission provides a unique opportunity for an artist to envision an ambitious project in Turbine Hall, a vast industrial space. Anatsui is the first African artist selected for the commission.
Defined by brilliant color and abstract designs, Anatsui’s sculptural textiles are some of the most breathtaking works of contemporary art being made anywhere in the world. The intricate works are composed of many thousands of recycled aluminum bottle caps, flattened and bound by copper wire, a labor-intensive process that requires teams of artisans to complete.
For Turbine Hall, Anatsui knew from the outset that he wanted to consider the history of the transatlantic slave trade. Suspended from the ceiling, the works in “Behind the Red Moon” bring together form and narrative on a grand scale. The title work is a field of red featuring an enormous moon shape with a citrine yellow composition on the reverse. “Turbine Hall reminds me of a ship,” Anatsui said in the exhibition guide. “I was thinking about motion and the idea of the red sail. This work addresses a history of encounter and the movement of ideas and people.” CT
On Oct. 11, 2023, El Anatsui will be in conversation with exhibition curator Osei Bonsu. The Tate event is already sold out
FIND MORE about the works in “El Anatsui: Behind the Red Moon” in the museum’s exhibition guide
READ MORE about El Anatsui’s selection for the Hyundai Commission on Culture Type
El Anatsui’s Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern will be accompanied by a new forthcoming publication. “El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture,” co-authored by Okwui Enwezor (1963-2019) and Chika Okeke-Agulu, is an unparalleled critical account of the artist and his practice over the past half century, fully illustrated with images of the artist’s work over the past five decades. Also consider, “El Anatsui: Art and Life” (2021) by Susan M. Vogel. For children, “Bottle Tops: The Art of El Anatsu” explores the artist’s life and work. “African Art Now: 50 Pioneers Defining African Art for the Twenty-First Century” by Osei Bonsu, curator of El Anatsui’s Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern, was published last year.
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