Mnuchin Gallery is proud to announce Metas, an exhibition by globally renowned artist El Anatsui. The show will present all new work by the artist, inspired in part by the architectural spaces of the gallery’s historic townhouse. This will be Anatsui’s first exhibition in New York since his acclaimed solo show, Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, traveled to the Brooklyn Museum in 2013. Organized in collaboration with Jack Shainman Gallery, it is the artist’s first exhibition on New York’s Upper East Side. The show will be on view from October 28 through December 13, 2014.
Blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture, Anatsui’s work transforms humble recycled materials into glittering drapes and folds. Composed of liquor bottle caps and labels stitched together with copper wire, the artist’s hanging wall pieces and suspended sculpture bring to mind jewel-toned mosaics and the embellished textiles of his birthplace in Ghana.
In addition, this exhibition introduces an entirely new body of work entitled, Metas. In these wall pieces, Anatsui employs, for the first time, uniformly cut squares of newspaper printing plates to a dramatically monochromatic effect. Replacing his characteristic bright colors and patterns with radical formal innovation, the artist incorporates dramatic cut-outs, dynamic diagonal lines, and geometric shapes demarcated by rich variances in surface textures. The multifaceted angles of the crumpled and folded materials, together with the fragments of texts and images still visible on the printing plates, evoke the collaged newsprint and shattered perspectives of Cubist paintings.
Currently living between Ghana and Nigeria, Anatsui references the colonial histories, local economies, and aesthetic practices of both countries. His work transcends geographic boundaries, engaging in an international dialogue concerning consumption and the environment, as well as with global abstract traditions, including that of Western painting.