Friday, October 5, 2012

El Anatsui in Akron -- 3

All the El Anatsui works I showed you in previous posts were hung against the wall, even though many of them bulge and drape into a third dimension.  In fact, some were suspended quite a ways out on various hooks and supports.

Amemo (Mask of Humankind), 2010, detail

But some were adamantly 3-D all the way.

Here's a whole room full, one work with three separate panels that you can walk around.  The whole work is titled "Gli," which can mean wall, disrupt or story.  Anatsui has said, "I think that walls are human constructs that are meant to block views, but they block only the view of the eye -- the retinal view -- not the imaginative view.  When the eye scans a certain barrier, the imagination tends to go beyond that barrier, so in that sense, walls reveal more things than they hide."

The curators apparently had fun hanging this piece.  One of the panels is irregular and curvy, and turns a corner at one end.  It's hung with a knee-high open space at the bottom.

Another is dead straight, dividing the room on the diagonal and stopping smack at the floor.

Behind it, the third panel is hung against the wall but spills out onto the floor.

The adjoining room is full of huge shopping-bag sculptures, made out of the aluminum plates used to print newspapers, advertising flyers and other ephemera.

Waste Paper Bags, 2004-10, detail below

Finally, here is just part of an installation made of the rusting lids of milk cans.  All of the parts are made of lids wired together into flat sheets, as with his larger wall pieces, but the lids are big enough that they will support each other when pulled up into peaks.  (There's a double-entendre: Peak is also the brand name of the milk.)  Other parts were displayed lying relatively flat on the floor.

Peak, 2010, detail below

Stay tuned -- in a later post I'll show you several of Anatsui's early works in wood.


  1. I am suprised they let you take pictures. The photos are great and I am going to miss these works once they are gone. Thanks for posting!

  2. Patty -- Many museums permit photography of their permanent collections but not of special exhibits. This one was vice versa, which surprised me!

  3. Wow! Looks like it was an excellent exhibit. Wish I could have seen it in person.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I saw some of his work in Seattle last year and was blown away.

  5. Kathy, can't thank you enough for your fabulous photos and excellent narrative of this exhibit....too far for me and didn't even know it was there! Will have to Google to see if it is traveling anywhere nearby. His work is amazing and awe-inspiring. Best to you, Debbie Bein

  6. Debbie -- you're in luck! it goes next to the Brooklyn Museum.