El Anatsui Selected to Create Monumental Work for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall

El Anatsui, the multimedia artist known for his bottle-cap tapestries, will be the next artist to do the Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

The Turbine Hall commission has been staged since 2002, and done in collaboration with Hyundai since 2015. Artists such as Kara Walker, Olafur Eliasson, Tania Bruguera, and Abraham Cruzvillegas have created those site-specific installations. The current one, on view through April 16, is the work of Cecilia Vicuña.

Anatsui was born in Anyako, Ghana, in 1944. In 1975 he started teaching at the University of Nigeria, where he eventually became professor of sculpture. His bottle-cap tapestries gained fame in the early 2000s, and his work has since been added to the collections of such institutions as the British Museum in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 2015 Anatsui received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale.

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“I saw the bottle caps as relating to the history of Africa in the sense that when the earliest group of Europeans came to trade, they brought along rum originally from the West Indies that then went to Europe and finally to Africa as three legs of the triangular trip,” he told ARTnews in a 2015 interview

While the bottle caps are perhaps the most recognizable materials in his art, Anatsui has used a range of found materials, including milk tins, driftwood, railway sleepers, iron nails, and printing plates.

“Repurposing found materials into dazzling works of abstract art, Anatsui’s work explores themes that include the environment, consumption and trade,” Tate said in a statement.

“Anatsui’s much-loved [bottle top and copper wire tapestry] 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,” added Tate Modern director Frances Morris.

The new work will premiere in Turbine Hall October 10 and run through April 14, 2024.