Major installation, TSIATSIA by El Anatsui at the ZEITZ15/02/2019 - 15/02/2020
TSIATSIA – searching for connection by acclaimed artist, El Anatsui, reinterprets and challenges the traditional trope of sculptural practice to invoke a multi-layered, sensory reimagining of our material world.
At 15.6 m x 25 m and comprising eight vertical panels – this wall-hanging sculpture is one of the largest the artist has made to date. Inspired by the limitless possibilities of the blank canvas and adopting the method of weaving to create a tapestry – Anatsui uses aluminium bottle tops and various alcohol by-products as paint to create abstract strokes, shapes, and patterns.
In this process of abstraction, the artist represents the fluidity of life and geographical identities. It is said that at times of global turmoil, abstraction takes on heightened significance. This ideology is represented here in TSIATSIA – searching for connection as Anatsui adopts abstraction as the language to seek globalised networks of new energies and reformed progressive narratives. In 2013, with TSIATSIA – searching for connection, El Anatsui was awarded the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award. Anatsui has also received numerous other honours for his work: In 2014, he was made an Honorary Royal Academician and was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 2015, he was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 56th Venice BiennaleAll the World’s Futures; and in 2016, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Town, and was honoured with the Praemium Imperiale Award for Sculpture in 2017.Anatsui embraces both the formal and conceptual properties of found materials to convey rich and complex narratives pertaining to colonial and postcolonial economic endeavours and cultural exchanges in Africa and the amalgamation of histories through trade. In this sense, Anatsui uses discarded and abandoned materials as a layered means to express rich histories. It is the materiality and essence of the individual fragments that give TSIATSIA – searching for connection visual impact.
In this same way – paradoxically, Anatsui’s tapestries are both weighty and light in appearance. This luminous gold tapestry draped across the architectural fabric of Zeitz MOCAA, cascading down four floors of the museum, uses the concepts of consumption and transformation as a means to unite humanity— celebrating a plurality of cultural influences through the universal language of abstraction. The installation is presented in collaboration with October Gallery, London.
TSIATSIA – Searching for connection
Exhibition curators: Julia Kabat, Alistair Kennedy
Exhibition dates: February 2019 – December 2019
V&A Waterfront, Silo District, S Arm Rd,
Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa