Monday, October 8, 2012

El Anatsui in Akron -- 4

Much as I love El Anatsui's works in metal, I was also intrigued by several of his older wood sculptures on display in Akron.  Just as he now gets metal from discarded cans and bottles, he used to work with discarded wood, which he further distressed with chain saw cuts, drilled holes, wire wrapping, scorching, and occasionally some paint.

Although all the works hang on the wall, they're certainly 3-D, with lots of texture and bas-relief depth. He frequently made his sculptures in separate panels, which can be rearranged in different ways for display.  This format references African kente cloth, in which narrow woven strips are sewed together to make wider panels.


Sagging Pants

Trying on Faded Jeans, detail below

Yida (Comb)


Amewo (People)

Seers (detail below)


  1. The wood sculptures can be a bit baffling when you first see them, especially if you've been looking at the large metal pieces. I first saw Currents, and another piece like it, years ago in a small show in London; they were made before he started using little bits of metal ... in retrospect, they show the ancestry of those larger pieces - all of them seem to say "look again!".

  2. Ooo, I've never seen these; thanks for sharing!