The third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. El Anatsui
ARTinvestment.RU   19 августа 2009

ARTinvestment.RU tells about one of the most significant artists of the Black Continent

September 25 in Moscow called The Third International Biennale of Contemporary Art. Among its members - one of the most prominent African artists, a native of Ghana, El Anatsui (El Anatsui).

Anatsui famous for its huge "curtains" of flattened aluminum caps on the bottles. Despite the fact that the material from which they are made, not be called noble, these works are very beautiful. In 2007, two "carpet" Anatsui appeared on the main international exhibition of contemporary art - the Venice Biennale. Many visitors called them among the most impressive exhibits. Among those who shook the creation of the African artist, was curator of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art Tinterau Gary (Gary Tinterow). After seeing "carpets", he immediately contacted his assistant and ordered about buying one of the works Anatsui. Subway - not the first museum acquired works by the artist for his collection: opening of the Biennale at the time of its "throws" been able to boast of such prestigious institutions as the British Museum and the Pompidou Center. Now these works are included in the collection of many museums around the world.

El Anatsui was born in 1944 at a time when Ghana was under the rule of British colonialists and had the name "Gold Coast". According to the artist, he was the youngest of 32 children. Anatsui's father was a fisherman, and was engaged in manufacturing of "Kent" - the traditional colorful fabrics. Many critics compare the "veil" of the artist with these tissues, but he said that the textile business he was never interested. Yes and no father initiated him into the secrets of his skill: Anatsui mother died when he was young, so he spent his childhood in the house of his uncle, a priest, a Presbyterian.

Ghana gained independence in 1957. After it from the power of colonizers freed other West African countries, including Nigeria. In those years, representatives of higher educational institutions have often visited high schools in order to invite students to their faculties. Junior Anatsui proficient in several subjects, but especially to distinguish it on the hard lessons. Therefore, when it came to people from the school of Science and Technology in Kumasi, the boy filled out a questionnaire on arrival at the Department of Fine Arts. Then the decision was very risky: a beginner artists, unlike, for example, architects and engineers, there was almost no role models from among his compatriots. But Anatsui still decided to try it. After graduating from university, where he studied sculpture, the artist five years engaged in teaching in Winneba, then moved to Nigeria.

According to the recollections of the sculptor, his training was built on Western models. Only in the last year of university, he realized his desire for something that has bólshy resonance for people who grew up in Africa. Settling in Winneba, Anatsui began studying African ideograms, such symbols "adinkra" denoting various abstract concepts or proverbs. The artist bought wooden trays in local markets and inflicted on them these signs. These works enjoyed great success with the residents of Winneba, and Anatsui first realized that earning a living in art - perhaps.

interest in African traditions closer together Anatsui and the famous Nigerian painter, Uche Okeke ( Uche Okeke), head of department of Fine Arts, University of Nigeria Nsukka. Okeke, invited the young artist to teach in their department, and in 1975 Anatsui moved to Nigeria, where he lives to this day. In the 1970's the political situation in West Africa has increased, many countries imposed a brutal dictatorship. This is reflected in the work Anatsui - artist broke, and then glue clay pots and other products. One of his creations, fused ceramic ball, called We de Patcham - abridged version of the expression We dey patch am e dey leak, which is translated from the Nigerian English means "We have to fix it, fix it, but he still runs." Of course, we mean black continent torn by endless strife. But the creation Anatsui not without optimism: as the artist says, even if the clay pot is broken, potsherds found a new use.

In the late 1970's Anatsui, has already earned fame in art circles in Nigeria, received an invitation to go abroad - to a conference in Toronto, dedicated to sculpture. In Canada, he first saw the live works by contemporary artists of the West. Later, the artist spent some time in Massachusetts, where renewed his interest in the wooden sculpture. He began to apply images to a tree with saws.

In 1999 Anatsui found on the roadside bag, which struck him as unusual. Inside were thousands of caps from bottles of whiskey, gin and rum. The artist took the lid to his studio, where they have lain untouched for several months until their new owner was engaged in his usual thing - create abstract wooden sculptures. Once Anatsui decided to experiment with them. He thought: what if I lay flat caps and sew them using a copper wire? .. Thus appeared the first "curtain».

Anatsui prefers to call these creations "sculptures" and not "tapestry". It should be noted that the "veil" - is not merely decorative objects and works of conceptual art. According to the artist, he "returns [the West] that was brought to Africa. His works made from waste of the consumer society, refer to the history of the emergence in Africa of those "thanks" to whom it appeared that very society. Alcohol was a major weapon of the Western colonizers: training the natives to drink, they have a huge impact on lifestyle and way of thinking as indigenous. A few centuries ago, European retailers have changed the local rich alcohol to slaves.

inscriptions on the lid, too important. For them it is possible to study history. For example, gin Ecomog received its name in honor of the peacekeeping force, due to which ended the war between Liberia and Sierra Leone. A brandy Ebeano (which means "where we are now") - in honor of the slogan used in elections in the state, where the artist now lives.

use everyday, "unromantic" things - the reception has long since entered a "cookbook" of contemporary artists. Let us recall the bicycle wheel of Marcel Duchamp (Marcel Duchamp), or basketballs Jeff Koons (Jeff Koons). Rubbish - this is also the material is not original. Now in the West, particularly relating to debris: more and more people (and not just artists) are beginning to re-use or give away their waste for recycling. Anatsui said that his country has long been processed junk, but not because they care about the environment, but because of poverty - every thing in the account. The art of the artist - namely, that "poor" (not to be confused with the Italian movement arte povera), but the beauty is not inferior to the diamond skull by Damien Hirst (Damien Hirst), which went to create many millions of dollars.

London's Sotheby's October 17, 2008 . Work carried out in 2006, brought 290 thousand pounds (without Buyer's Premium) in Estimé 180-250 thousand.

Source: T Magazine , art-interview.com , ethnicarts.org , expressnightout.com , artprice.com , artinvestment.ru



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