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Hyundai Motor and Tate announce El Anatsui as next Hyundai Commission artist

Hyundai Motor Company and Tate Modern today announced that distinguished artist El Anatsui will create the next annual Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Repurposing found materials into dazzling works of abstract art, Anatsui’s work explores themes that include the environment, consumption, and trade.

Open to the public from October 10, 2023 to April 14, 2024, Hyundai Commission: El Anatsui will be the eighth in an annual series of site-specific works created for the Turbine Hall by renowned international artists as part of a unique partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor.

El Anatsui (born in Anyako, Ghana in 1944) is best-known for his cascading metallic sculptures constructed of thousands of recycled bottle tops articulated with copper wire. 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 that 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.

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

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,” said Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern. “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.”

The annual Hyundai Commission offers artists an opportunity to create new work for the Turbine Hall, a vast space that has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art since Tate Modern opened in 2000.

Hyundai Motor’s partnership with Tate, confirmed until 2026, is significant not only because it is the longest initial commitment from a corporate partner in Tate’s history, but also due to the shared vision between Hyundai and Tate to encourage new perspectives and ideas that create dialogue between artists, audiences and global communities.

In addition to the Hyundai Commission, Hyundai Motor supports the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational through its partnership with Tate. The Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, launched in January 2019, continues to help challenge and revise dominant art histories and highlight global exchanges of artists and ideas.

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.

Main Image Credit: El Anatsui, Skylines?, 2008. Aluminium and copper wire, 300 x 825 cm © El Anatsui. Private Collection. Courtesy the Artist and October Gallery, London. Photo © Jonathan Greet

About El Anatsui
Anatsui has exhibited around the world, including recent solo projects at La Conciergerie, Paris (2021): Triumphant Scale at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2019); Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (2019); and Kunstmuseum Bern (2020). 

He was recipient of the Charles Wollaston Award at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2013. In 2019, a major installation was exhibited at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, (Zeitz MOCCA), Cape Town, and his work was included in the inaugural Ghana Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. 

Anatsui’s work is held in permanent collections around the world including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; The British Museum, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris.

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