“If you touch something you leave a charge on it,” says El Anatsui, “and anybody else touching it connects with you.” This is how Africa’s most important artist explains the electric impact of his enormous installations. In Anatsui’s most recent works, he cuts, flattens, twists, and crushes metal wine collars and bottle caps, then uses copper wires to link these pieces into massive tapestries that drape like rich cloth, gold and silver fleeces. Vibrant with meaning, Anatsui’s tapestries interweave art and history, Africa and Europe. The manual labor involved in these colossal works is demanding, and the result triumphant. —E.C.
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