Today the Ghana-born artist El Anatsui is at the Met installing his intricate hanging sculpture "Between Heaven and Earth" (2006), the first major work of contemporary African sculpture acquired by the Met. The installation is being heavily documented by The Museum's able-bodied media task force. See more pictures of the installation (taken by various staff members) as they are gradually added to the Met's flickr set for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and The Americas (AAOA).
via RGL blog, 1/4/08:
Left: Sasa, 2004, Aluminium and Copper Wire. Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris
Right: El Anatsui, Selfridges Installation, London, 2005
via NYTimes, Images courtesy of October Gallery (UK), additional linkage provided by RGL.
Inside Art, by CAROL VOGEL
Published: January 4, 2008
A wall of the Metropolitan Museum's African galleries will be covered on Tuesday in a shimmering textilelike metal tapestry, fashioned from aluminum, copper wire and bottle caps. The piece, "Between Earth and Heaven," by the Ghana-born artist El Anatsui, is the first major work of contemporary African sculpture acquired by the Met.
"El Anatsui is the most important contemporary African sculptor working today," said Alisa LaGamma, a curator in the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas department. "This is a great bridge between the historical works in the collection and one of its major contemporary masters."
"Between Earth and Heaven," created in 2006, refers to the West African tradition of strip-woven textiles, in particular the kente cloth made by Akan and Ewe weavers in Ghana. These classical textiles are both monumental in scale and highly sculptural.
"One of his goals is to evoke the kinetic qualities of cloth in a different, more permanent medium," said Ms. LaGamma, adding that she expects the tapestry to remain on view until March 2009.
Between Earth and Heaven (detail), 2006. Aluminium and Copper Wire, 230cm x 320cm. Image courtesy of October Gallery (UK)
With its gold, red and black color scheme, the hanging looks as finely woven as silk, yet Mr. Anatsui used only found materials.
At last summer's Venice Biennale he created a sensation with a pair of tapestrylike hangings fashioned from discarded soda cans that evoked the luster of a Gustav Klimt painting. (The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Mo., acquired one of them.) His work is also in a show, "Zebra Crossing," opening Friday at the Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea.