“If you touch something you leave a charge on it,” says El Anatsui, “and anybody else touching it connects with you, in a way.” This is how Africa’s most important artist explains the laborious technique behind his enormous installations. In Anatsui’s most recent works, he cuts, flattens, twists, and crushes bottle caps; then uses copper wires to string the caps together into tapestries. Vibrant in color, these tapestries interweave influences from African and European art. The manual labor for these colossal works is demanding, and the result triumphant. —E.C.
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