Ghana-born, Nigeria-based Artist El Anatsui to transform Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for the eighth Hyundai commission for this year

Portrait of El Anatsui. Courtesy of October Gallery. Photo by Andy Keate.2

Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor announced that El Anatsui will create the next annual Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. 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. His site-specific work for the Turbine Hall will be open to the public from 10 October 2023 – 14 April 2024.

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.

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The vast space of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London

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 revolutionized 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.

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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

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.

About the artist

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); Kunstmuseum Bern (2020). He was the recipient of the Charles Wollaston Award at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2013. In 2019, a major installation was exhibited at the 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; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; The British Museum, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris

About Hyundai Motor’s art projects

Hyundai Motor Company has been supporting art initiatives driven by long-term partnerships with global museums – the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), Tate, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) since 2013, along with major partnerships for the Korean Pavilion at the 56th, 57th, 58th, and 59th Venice Biennale and the 20th and 21st Biennale of Sydney. The newly established Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational encourages innovative ways of thinking about art and global art histories, and in partnership with global media group Bloomberg, Hyundai Motor Company connects international audiences with artists exploring the convergence of art and technology. 

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