El Anatsui Installs Wall of Recycled Tin on High Line

NEW YORK—An industrial tapestry is on exhibit along the High Line. Titled “Broken Bridge II,” the monumental wall of pressed tin with mirrored accents is by El Anatsui, the first black artist to participate in the High Line Commissions program since the park opened in 2009. (In 2010 Demetrius Oliver contributed “Jupiter” to the elevated park’s billboard program.)

Born in Ghana, El Anatsui lives and works in Nigeria. In a release, the High Line describes the critically acclaimed contemporary artist’s practice thus:

“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.”

“Broken Bridge II” will be on view between West 21st and West 22nd streets from Nov. 21, 2012 to Summer 2013, and more than 30 works by El Anatsui are currently on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. “Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui,” the artist’s first New York solo show, is on view from Feb. 8 to Aug. 14, 2013.

All photos © Arts Observer

“Broken Bridge II,” 2012 (pressed tin, mirrors).

View an Art21 video of El Anatsui on the High Line observing the installation.

Installation view.

The installation was first shown in Paris at the 2012 Triennale. Standing 37 feet high and 157 feet wide, “Broken Bridge II” is the largest outdoor installation El Anatsui has ever created.

Installation view.

While “Broken Bridge II” was being installed in November, Hurricane Sandy hit—flooding the neighborhood and knocking out power—delaying its completion.

Detail of rusted pressed tin tiles.

Detail of mirrored section of installation.

The reflection of the mirrors is expansive, capturing the blue sky, the cityscape and the park’s surrounding landscape. Even the Empire State Building in midtown can be seen in its reflection.

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