My first encounter with Ghanan born artist, El Anatsui, was the 30 piece exhibition of his work at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, held in 2013. Since then, I’ve discovered pieces by this globally-renowned contemporary artist at both the Met and the MOMA. Now there’s a new opportunity to view Anatsui’s work in a more intimate environment at the Mnuchin Gallery on East 78th Street.
Anatsui converts everyday materials, like aluminum and and copper wiring, into dramatic art .His pieces are influenced by traditions from his birth country, Ghana and his home in Nsukka, Nigeria. From afar Anatsui’s pieces look like textured paintings, but when examined closely, you can see his intricate handiwork in the carefully stitched together liquor bottle caps and labels.
The show at the Mnuchin Gallery is entitled, “Metas,” In this entirely new body of work, notes the gallery, Anatsui replaces his characteristic bright colors and patterns with “dramatic cut-outs, dynamic diagonal lines, and geometric shapes demarcated by rich variances in surface textures.”
One of my favorite pieces of this show was a sculpture entitled, “Womb of Time.” Suspended from the ceiling, the piece can be experienced both from the outside and inside. Though it probably weighs quite a lot, the sculpture seems light and airy like an eggshell.
El Anatsui: Metas will be on view until December 13th.