Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui

It’s awe-inspiring to see how humble bottle caps can be transformed. Photo: Exhibition subway ad

As a lover of upcycled art, I was blown away when I first experienced the majestic, textural expressions created by the globally-renowned contemporary artist, El Anatsui. A phenomenal visionary who transforms  discarded common materials into monumental masterpieces, his work has broadened my view of what upcycled art can be. It’s awe-inspiring to see how humble bottle caps can be transformed from trash to such magnificient treasure. There are literally no boundaries in the right hands.

“The metal wall works, created with bottle caps from a distillery in Nsukka, are pieced

together to form colorful, textured hangings that take on radically new shapes with each installation.

El Anatsui is captivated by his materials’ history of use, reflecting his own nomadic background…

Anatsui converts found materials into a new type of media that lies between sculpture and painting,

combining aesthetic traditions from his birth country, Ghana; his home in Nsukka, Nigeria;

and the global history of abstraction.”

Brooklyn Museum

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui

Close-up of an El Anatsui work. Photo: Google Creative Commons

What was El Anatsui thinking?

View the video below to hear El Anatsui discuss his rise to fame, his inspiration, and the process behind the large-scale installations on view in Gravity and Grace with Kevin Dumouchelle, Associate Curator of the Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands, and Susan Vogel, filmmaker and author of El Anatsui: Art and Life. This discusion took place on Sunday, February 10, 2013 at the Brooklyn Museum.
In Conversion: El Anatsui with Susan Vogel

Lucky for us, his El Anatsui’s work is currently on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum in New York. Put it on the top of your ‘must-see’ list!

The Essentials

Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui
February 8–August 4, 2013
Brooklyn Museum
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery, 5th Floor
200 Eastern Parkway
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11238
Have you seen any outstanding examples of upcycled art? What materials were used? Have you created upcycled arts, craft or furnishings? Share with us below.