El Anatsui: Studio Process | Art21 “Extended Play”

El Anatsui: Studio Process | Art21 “Extended Play”


[El Anatsui: Studio Process] The studio is located in the university town
of Nsukka in southeastern Nigeria. It’s about 10, 20 minutes, by walking,
north of the university campus. There are times when I come in unexpectedly, and then I’ll park my car elsewhere and walk in and you hear a lot of… There’s a lot of, how do you call it now,
banter. [LAUGHS] Very loud banter. When I go in, then they all keep quiet. [LAUGHS] Because I always demand that there should
be absolute silence in there– or as much silence as possible. Because I try to impress upon them that
a studio is a sacred place that you come to do some bit of reflection
and thinking. For each new, say, pattern or texture that
I’m introducing, I have to show them how it’s done, because I find that, as an artist, if you don’t maintain physical contact with
handling the material, for instance, the work might end up not having a soul. First of all, they have to do the units– we call them “blocks”– and a block can consist of maybe
two hundred and something bottle caps together. And so you take these units
and then start playing around with them. Then that’s when you now have to
lay all of them out, scatter them in the studio, and then start picking what you need
for each portion of the work. They put them together in a bunch and you try to see what it can suggest. If it’s something that you feel is interesting, or something effective, then you have started a new idea. You just play around– play around, shift around, and at times, for days,
you can just keep shifting things around. And taking photographs of them, and putting them on the computer and… So I have a lot of images on my computer. In course of time, I could go back
and just keep looking at this. You need a very large bank of images– of effects, of textures– that I can always refer to, and they could trigger off new ideas. Because ideas do come at very unusual times.

12 thoughts on “El Anatsui: Studio Process | Art21 “Extended Play””

  1. Hi Yishai,
    This is the artist who is having an exhibition in the B'klyn Museum now or very soon. You all should see it

  2. Upcycle artist to the max!!! its great to here positive stories from Africa! The corporate US mainstream media only reports negative stories about Africa. Thank you DW.

  3. Hello,
    We wrote an article about 9 famous artists from Africa, including El Anatsui. We embedded your great youtube video to illustrate : https://creativinn.com/9-famous-artists-from-africa/

  4. El Anatsui, Ghanaian born and bred and educated at the College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology(KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana.

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