With material from a media release
El Anatsui Will Be Next Hyundai Commission Artist For Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall
Open to the public 10 October 2023 – 14 April 2024
Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor have announced that Ghanaian artist El Anatsui will create the next annual Hyundai Commission.
One of the most distinctive artists working today, El Anatsui is best-known for his cascading metallic sculptures constructed of thousands of recycled bottle-tops articulated with copper wire. Repurposing found materials into dazzling works of abstract art, Anatsui’s work explores themes that include the environment, consumption and trade.
His site-specific work for the Turbine Hall will be open to the public from 10 October 2023 – 14 April 2024.
I first became aware of El Anatsui and his work in 2009 on a trip to New York City. I managed to stumble into the Contemporary African Art Gallery in the Upper West Side, and had to wait while the gallery owner chatted with someone else. In fact, I ended up sitting next to one of El Anatsui's shimmering pieces without knowing what it was.
I saw his work again in person when he had a major show at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2010-11, including a work that was left with the ROM.
|El Anatsui (portrait photograph) Photo © Aliona Adrianova, 2019, Courtesy October Gallery, London|
Anatsui was born in Anyako, Ghana in 1944 and has spent most of his career in Nigeria. Over a long-lasting and distinguished career as both artist and educator – serving as Professor of Sculpture and Departmental Head at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – Anatsui has developed a highly experimental approach to sculpture, embracing a wide range of forms and materials including wood, ceramics and found objects.
He has experimented with liquor bottle tops since the late 90s and continues to push the medium’s boundaries in novel ways, creating radical, transformative sculptures which assume new shapes with every installation. Interested in the changing histories of the objects he repurposes into shimmering sculptures, Anatsui fuses specific local aesthetic traditions with the global history of abstraction. In 2015, Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia and his work is held in major collections around the world.
|El Anatsui, Kindred Viewpoints, 2016 (Aluminium and copper wire, 1680 x 2140 cm) Image courtesy Marrakech Biennale 6, NOT NEW NOW; Photo © Jens Martin|
Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, said in a media release, “El Anatsui is responsible for some of the most unique and unforgettable sculptures in recent times and we are delighted that he will tackle the Turbine Hall this autumn for the annual Hyundai Commission. Anatsui’s much-loved Ink Splash II 2012 in Tate’s collection enchants visitors wherever it’s shown, and we can’t wait to see how this inventive artist will approach a space like the Turbine Hall.”
DooEun Choi, Art Director of Hyundai Motor Company said in a statement, “El Anatsui's works are distinguished by his dedication to exploring the transformative potential of art and his attention to histories. We look forward to seeing how El Anatsui transforms the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern for the eighth Hyundai Commission.”
|El Anatsui, Skylines?, 2008 (Aluminium and copper wire, 300 x 825 cm) © El Anatsui, Private Collection, Courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London; Photo © Jonathan Greet|
Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, reaching an audience of millions each year.
The annual Hyundai Commission gives artists an opportunity to create new work for this unique context. The commissions are made possible by the long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, confirmed until 2026 as part of the longest initial commitment from a corporate partner in Tate’s history.
Hyundai Commission: El Anatsui is curated by Osei Bonsu, Curator, International Art, and Dina Akhmadeeva, Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate Modern and will be accompanied by a new book from Tate Publishing.
Filmed at his Nsukka, Nigeria studio in 2011, El Anatsui describes his process.
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