Considered one of the foremost contemporary artists of his generation, El Anatsui is known for his intricate sculptures, which are grand in scale and composed of recycled materials mostly collected near his home in Nigeria. Much of the artist’s work consists of metallic bottle caps, which are culled from discarded Nigerian liquor bottles and woven together with copper wire. These three-dimensional paintings evoke the economic and cultural traditions and histories of West Africa, and the artist’s choice of materials engages viewers to reflect on the role that consumer waste plays in changing the parameters of globalization.
For the High Line, the artist presents his largest work to date, an awe-inspiring sculpture that hangs on an outdoor wall next to the park between West 21st and West 22nd Streets. Originally shown in Paris during the 2012 Triennale, the work was reconfigured by the artist for this unique location. Made of recycled pressed tin and mirrors woven together, Broken Bridge II creates a stunning visual of wave-like patterns and folds, evoking traditional practices of tapestry weaving, while reflecting the surrounding landscape of the High Line. At 37 feet high and 157 feet wide, the installation is viewable from the High Line and the sidewalks along West 21st and West 22nd Streets, surprising park visitors and pedestrians with its monumental scale.
(1,3,4) Photo by Austin Kennedy; (2,5) Photo by Ken Goebel; (6) Photo courtesy of Friends of the High Line.