The Ghana-born artist El Anatsui will create the next annual Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern. He is one of the leading lights of contemporary African artists working internationally today. His distinctive style is known for his cascading metallic sculptures 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.
Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion at the 56th Biennale di Venezia
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. He 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 significant collections worldwide.
Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, said: El Anatsui is responsible for some of the most unique and unforgettable sculptures in recent times. So we are delighted that he will tackle the Turbine Hall for the annual Hyundai Commission this autumn. 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: “El Anatsui’s works are distinguished by his dedication to exploring the transformative potential of art and his attention to history. We look forward to seeing how El Anatsui transforms the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern for the eighth Hyundai Commission.”
Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most notable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, reaching an audience of millions each year. How artists have interpreted this vast industrial space has revolutionised public perceptions of modern art in the twenty-first century. The annual Hyundai Commission allows artists 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 most extended 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.
Anatsui has exhibited around the world, including recent solo projects at La Conciergerie, Paris (2021): Triumphant Scale at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2019); Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019); Kunstmuseum Bern (2020). He received the Charles Wollaston Award at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 2013. In 2019, a significant installation was exhibited at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCCA), Cape Town. In addition, his work was included in the inaugural Ghana Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Anatsui’s work is held in permanent collections worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; The British Museum, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris.