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Maker: El Anatsui
born 1944, Ghana (active in Nigeria)
Erosion
Date: 1992
Medium: Wood, paint, woodchips, sawdust
Dimensions: H: 297.2 cm (117 in.)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Geography: Ghana
Geography: Nigeria
Object Number: 96-36-1
Search Terms:
Object is not currently on exhibit

This piece belongs to a body of work made of freestanding tropical wood pieces that the artist, El Anatsui, often accents with paints and scars with flames. He began this piece in 1992 at an international artist's workshop in Brazil that coincided with the international Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro. The freedom Anatsui experienced in this environment allowed him to work in monumental scale. As he explained: "the freedom engendered monumental concepts. . . . I was not thinking of soil erosion . . . but something more basic than that, something which is at the root of it, but which is more monumental, more epochal--the erosion of cultures." Chike Okeke. 1994. "Slashing Wood, Eroding Culture: Conversation with El Anatsui." Nka: Journal of Contemporary Art 1, p. 40.

Freestanding, spiral wood sculpture with carvings and notches taken out.

El Anatsui: Triumphant Scale, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany, March 8, 2019–August 28,2019; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar, October 1, 2019–February 2, 2020; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland, March 13, 2020–June 21, 2020; Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, July 10, 2020–November 1, 2020



Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., April 22, 2013-February 23, 2014; Fowler Museum at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, April 19-September 14, 2014



El Anatsui 2006, October Gallery, London, November 1-December 22, 2006



Encounters with the Contemporary, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., January 7, 2001-January 6, 2002



Poetics of Line: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 22, 1997-April 26, 1998


Anatsui, El. 2006. El Anatsui 2006. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing, no. 1.



Binder, Lisa M. 2010. El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa. New York: Museum for African Art; Seattle: University of Washington Press, pp. 18, 120-121, no. 43; artist carving Erosion: p. 20, no. 9.



Gee, Erika. 2011. El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote To You About Africa. Educator's guide. New York: Education Department, Museum for African Art, p. 3.



Milbourne, Karen E. 2013. Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa. New York: The Monacelli Press; Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, p. 217, no. 183.



Ottenberg, Simon. 1997. New Traditions from Nigeria: Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Press, p. 173, no.125-126.



Stokes, Deborah. 2013. National Museum of African Art School Programs: The Arts Can Take You Places! Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, pull-out poster.



Vogel, Susan. 2012. El Anatsui: Art and Life. New York: Prestel, pp. 12-13, 122, nos. 5, 105.


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