Now think about what can be found as scrap materials in such a place. Not much, most certainly.
From wall size sculpture tapestries such as In the World but don’t know the World (2009), first exhibited at the Dubai Art Fair in 2012, to the monumental shimmering drapery Fresh and Fading Memories (2007), with which the artist completely metamorphosed the Palazzo Fortuny during the 2007 Venice Biennale by covering its whole façade, his works have been growing not only in size, but also in variety.
In this exhibition, viewers are free to move around the works and to set a more intimate kind of interaction with them which, in turn, allows them to fully grasp the humble nature of the metal scraps used to produce such richly stunning, dazzling objects. This further enhances the irony of the deep inequality prevailing between different areas of the world, in spite of globalisation or even thereby made stronger and more obvious. As someone commented following a visit to this exhibition, it is a great joke “to use discarded material and unskilled labor to produce large scale work that can be folded for easy travel in a globalized art market.” El Anatsui’s art pieces, therefore, seem to make a statement on the stark contrast between consumerism and waste, as opposed to the frailty and transience of life in his native Africa.