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El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale. Retrospective at Kunstmuseum Bern

The Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui achieved international success with his bottle cap sculptures. These works consist of thousands of used bottle caps, parts of tin cans and other discarded objects, which the artist sews together with copper wire. The resulting works are metallic cloth-like wall sculptures.

The exhibition “Triumphant Scale” at Kunstmuseum Bern features El Anatsui’s signature liquor bottle cap series, but also includes his early circular plates, wooden sculptures and wall reliefs, ceramic sculptures, and a variety of drawings, sketches and prints. Thus, “Triumphant Scale” is a retrospective that spans El Anatsui’s works and media from the mid-1970s to today.

This video is a tour of the exhibition by rooms and groups of works and an introduction by Kathleen Bühler, the curator of the Kunstmuseum Bern. Kathleen Bühler talks about how the show came about, El Anatsui’s background, how his work evolved over time and why, both the political and the aesthetic aspect of his work, and how the exhibition is received by the visitors.

“El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale“ was curated by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu in collaboration with Kathleen Bühler. The exhibition was organized by Haus der Kunst, Munich, in cooperation with MATHAF: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Kunstmuseum Bern and Guggenheim Bilbao.

El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale. Retrospective at Kunstmuseum Bern. Exhibition walkthrough and introduction by Kathleen Bühler (Curator, Kunstmuseum Bern). Bern (Switzerland), June 3, 2020.

00:00 Intro
00:26 Works on Paper
01:23 Medium and Material: Sculpture as Relief
02:39 Wholes and Parts: Wood Panels
04:07 Wood Reliefs and Columns
09:07 Abstraction and the Monochrome
12:24 Gravity and Grace
14:30 Fragmentation and the Unfixed Form
15:52 Tiled Flower Garden
16:50 Traces and Indexical Fields
18:35 Whole and Parts: Terracotta Sculptures

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