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El Anatsui presents Second Wave at Haus der Kunst
El Anatsui created the installation “Second Wave” for the facade of Haus der Kunst.
“Second Wave” is the artist’s largest work to date. It is nearly 110 meters long and consists of 22 panels, each of which is ten meters high and four meters wide; the panels are connected by bridge elements.
The installation consists of nearly ten thousand printing plates used in offset printing.
“Obviously, in the title, El Anatsui is referencing the permanent wave of the Eisbach.” Okwui Enwezor
The plates came from a Munich-based printing company that produces a newspaper, as well as from a printing plant in Bolzano that produces books for an art publisher.
The unused plates from the Munich printing house are incorporated on the back of the work.
The plates from the printer in Bolzano have been used and have thus already served as information carriers.
Sorted by color gradient, they pattern the front side of the work.
For the installation on the Haus der Kunst façade, the panels were folded, deformed, overlapped and riveted.
The shape and design of these printing plates as well as their original purpose as information carriers are significant to the work’s meaning.
Standing opposite Haus der Kunst’s façade, one sees the wave beginning to slowly surge, reaching its peak above the main entrance.
To the right of the entrance, a second wave forms, faster and more urgently than the first.
The monumental dimensions of the installation and the sheer volume of materials used to create it represent the daily flood of information and the challenge of keeping one’s bearings in the face of such waves.
The exhibition “Triumphant Scale” was developed by Okwui Enwezor and Chika Okeke-Agulu in collaboration with Damian Lentini.
An overview exhibition with numerous drawings and works spanning five decades, it is El Anatsui’s most comprehensive show to date and currently the largest exhibition of an African artist mounted in a European museum.
The exhibition will travel to Doha, Bern and Bilbao; the catalogue is published by Prestel.