Afrocentric Theatre, Music, Culture and Business

Benchmarks: New Prints by El Anatsui Benchmarks: New Prints by El Anatsui
Benchmarks: New Prints by El Anatsui

Though globally-renowned for his iconic hangings of aluminium bottle-tops, Anatsui’s artistic practice has always been rooted in the discovery of new media. Having graduated from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, the artist set about ‘forgetting everything (he) had been taught’ in  the search for new modes of expression, and the materials needed to convey them. Following the imperative that an artist should work ‘with whatever his environment throws up’.


His interest is in the physical history of the materials themselves, the stories they contain and the journeys that bring them into his hands. It was just such a remarkable journey that first led the artist to work with bottle-tops when he happened upon several bags of them lying discarded by a local liquor shop and found inscribed within a hidden history of trade in West Africa.


Anatsui’s metal wall sculptures are worked on by a team of assistants who crush, fold and pierce the bottle-tops on tables and on smaller flats of wood. The repetitive and relentless force exerted on these surfaces over many years has resulted in a landscape of textured relief embedded in the worktops. These wooden surfaces were delivered to the studios of Factum Arte together with some bottle-top off-cuts and cassava graters that had been used in earlier works, to serve as the primary source materials for this new series of prints.


Today, El Anatsui continues to experiment with his newfound mode of creation. This preview exhibition will present a selection of works from the Benchmarks print project and indicate just some of the many new directions being explored in this ever-expanding oeuvre. Read the full text about Benchmark and El Anatsui’s work here.


When:  6 April – 13 May 2017  Where: October Gallery, WC1N 3AL

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