El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture
by El Anatsui (Artist), Chika Okeke-Agulu (Author), Okwui Enwezor (Author)
Authored by two acclaimed scholars, Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative account yet on the work of El Anatsui, the world-renowned Ghanaian-born sculptor. The product of more than three decades of research and close collaboration with the artist, it shows how his early wood reliefs and terracottas, and the later monumental metal sculptures, express a search for alternative models of art-making.
The authors argue that the pervasiveness of fragmentation as a compositional device in Anatsui’s oeuvre evokes the impact of colonization and postcolonial forces on African cultures. At the same time, the invocation of resilience and fragility invests his shape-shifting sculptures with iconic power. The authors also show how, in his critically acclaimed metal works, the manual labor of flattening, cutting, twisting and crushing bottle caps and using copper wires to suture and stitch the elements into one dazzling, reconfigurable epic piece serves as a powerful metaphor for human life.