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Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor announce that El Anatsui will create the next annual Hyundai Commission.

El Anatsui, 2019. © Aliona Adrianova. Courtesy October Gallery, London

One of the most distinctive artists working today, El Anatsui is best-known for his cascading metallic sculptures constructed of thousands of recycled bottle-tops articulated with copper wire. Repurposing found materials into dazzling works of abstract art, Anatsui’s work explores themes that include the environment, consumption and trade.

Anatsui was born in Anyako, Ghana in 1944 and has spent most of his career in Nigeria. Over a long-lasting and distinguished career as both artist and educator – serving as Professor of Sculpture and Departmental Head at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka – Anatsui has developed a highly experimental approach to sculpture, embracing a wide range of forms and materials including wood, ceramics and found objects. He has experimented with liquor bottle tops since the late 90s and continues to push the medium’s boundaries in novel ways, creating radical, transformative sculptures which assume new shapes with every installation. Interested in the changing histories of the objects he repurposes into shimmering sculptures, Anatsui fuses specific local aesthetic traditions with the global history of abstraction. In 2015, Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia and his work is held in major collections around the world.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, said: El Anatsui is responsible for some of the most unique and unforgettable sculptures in recent times and we are delighted that he will tackle the Turbine Hall this autumn for the annual Hyundai Commission. Anatsui’s much-loved Ink Splash II 2012 in Tate’s collection enchants visitors wherever it’s shown, and we can’t wait to see how this inventive artist will approach a space like the Turbine Hall.”

DooEun Choi, Art Director of Hyundai Motor Company said: “El Anatsui’s works are distinguished by his dedication to exploring the transformative potential of art and his attention to histories. We look forward to seeing how El Anatsui transforms the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern for the eighth Hyundai Commission.”

Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, reaching an audience of millions each year. The way artists have interpreted this vast industrial space has revolutionised public perceptions of contemporary art in the twenty-first century. The annual Hyundai Commission gives artists an opportunity to create new work for this unique context. The commissions are made possible by the long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, confirmed until 2026 as part of the longest initial commitment from a corporate partner in Tate’s history.

His site-specific work for the Turbine Hall will be open to the public from the 10th of October, 2023, until the 14th of April, 2024. ‘Hyundai Commission: El Anatsui’ is curated by Osei Bonsu, Curator, International Art, and Dina Akhmadeeva, Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate Modern and will be accompanied by a new book from Tate Publishing. For more information, please visit Tate Modern.

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