Finally a brief review of the El Anatsui exhibit currently at the Brooklyn Museum. In short it was wonderful. I went with a great friend so the art was coupled with catching up with a person that I miss very much from Brooklyn. We were both inspired and awed by the craftsmanship, skill and scale of the exhibition.
You walked in the huge open space on the top floor of the museum where a large mostly open "weave" tapestry was. The scale was impressive and little moments of color compelling but it was not the more interesting of work in the show.
The work that truly wowed me was the large scale wall tapestries. The labor of putting these together is mind bending but the incredible use of color and metallic was truly impressive. The works were strong and bold and literally metal but somehow they simultaneously undulated, invited, and quieted you.
I was most drawn to the super dimensional ones in the back room, they were just so incredible with their rolls and ripples of huge scale. There was also a piece that allowed for a soft tinkling sound in the metal in the same space- I liked the idea but the actual sound seemed like an afterthought. Perhaps it will develop more.
It was very interesting to see early works of El Anatsui which were to me rather boring traditional wood carvings. Works made just within that last 10 years- all the metal works were also mostly made in the last 10 years, This was interesting to me as it reminded me that as long as you keep working, making and thinking at any moment the idea that truly IS you as an artist can come along. His work now seems so authentically him and his culture and his viewpoint that it was inspiring to see that it has really come about in such a short amount of time.
There were a number of documentaries showing his process that I did not have time to watch but look forward to watching in the future as his process is fascinating and SO much like that of a quilter.