The first time I went to October Gallery, a couple of years ago, was to view El Anatsui’s work. Ghanaian born and living in Nigeria, El is internationally known for his use of aluminum bottle tops in his work but his art is not limited to that. El uses a range of tools and a number of materials to form the variety of sculptural metal hangings that I saw displayed at the gallery. I, unfortunately, do not have pictures but you can view the pieces here. (Scroll to the bottom and you’ll see it all – Heart of the Matter and Iris were my favourites).
Going back to October Gallery and seeing such an immensely different work to his usual style, El’s work still manages to evoke the same awe and wonder out of me that it did those years ago. The new series of prints were a result of the crushing and piercing of the bottle tops onto tables and woods, which were then sent off for 3-D scanning and printed off. Stepping into the gallery, I got lunar eclipse vibes from this body of work, which I immediately found was what El intended.
Here we are, Emeke and I, stood (and laughing loudly) in front of my favourite piece Untitled (Blue Metallic Eclipse).
All prints pictured above had a price tag of 25,000 euros excluding VAT which converts to just above £21,000. Some pieces had already been sold. £21,000 extinguished ladies and gents. That’s 3 years of tuition fees. I hope to one day walk into these exhibitions and select the art I love without worrying about the price tag.
The cassava grater imprints (pictured above) is priced at 100,000 euros (£84,000) and stood as the priciest item in the gallery. It’s a huge wall hanging and when stood in front of it, you see the laborious love poured into the making of this.
El’s work is available and free to view till the 13th of May 2017 at October Gallery. If you’ve got the money, do make sure to purchase my favourite piece for me.
*Update* – El’s Benchmark series is now showing at the Royal Academy Arts and will be on display until the 20th of April 2018. Have a look at October Gallery’s instagram for more information.