Yesterday I visited El Anatsui: Five decades at the Carriageworks.
There are a few previous mentions of his work in this blog: 27-Aug-2012 seen at the 18th Biennale Sydney: all our relations and discussed in the context of “Textile Art” research; 27-Mar-2015 as an example of surface distortion in research for assignment 1 of this course; and 29-Aug-2015 when I used the quote “He feels it is important to work with a newly discovered medium until you really understand it and can “get something intrinsic out of it” in support of my decision to narrow and deepen my exploration of molding materials in assignment 3. In that final post I also referenced a post by fellow student Nina, on ninaoconnor.wordpress.com which gives an excellent overview and related links about El Anatsui’s work.
This post is going to focus purely on what attracted my attention as related to my current project, An exploration of materials and space, also known as a collection of vessels.At one end of a large space there were a series of objects. They were made at different times – 1979, 1987, 1995. They used a variety of materials – most manganese, but also oyili-oji wood and black afara wood. The spaced arrangement, the height, made it easy to walk around, to peer into the works. It also tended to homogenize them, to isolate them.
This would not be an effective method to display a collection as an interacting group of objects nor to explore space.Waste paper bags is clearly a single work consisting of multiple elements. I find this presentation of the work particularly evocative. Anatsui’s work frequently references waste and recycling. Here it is presented in a building which was in a sense waste, when no longer required for building and maintaining railway carriages, and which now has been “recycled” into a contemporary multi-arts centre. The original fabric of the building is largely intact, with new structures inserted within. The mix of old and new materials of the gallery provides a very appropriate backdrop to Anatsui’s work. The high roof and skylights also allows shafts of light to enter and illuminate the works to very good effect.
My own vessels are new constructs of new materials. However the potential of different surrounds and natural light, at least as a supplement, is relevant to my thinking.
T1-MMT-P5-s2 Research – El Anatsui
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 5: A final piece
Stage 2: Research