El Anatsui - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Friday, October 6, 2023 | Phillips
  • A wonderful editioned example of El Anatsui’s bottle cap tapestries, which the artist has devoted his artistic practice to since the late 1990s, Diaspora captures Anatsui’s signature wide, shimmering curtains in compact form. Such wall-mounted works have pride of place in Anatsui’s oeuvre and first appeared in 1999, when he found a bag full of discarded seals from African liquor bottles. The artist assembled such elements by first crushing them into circles or slicing them into strips, then finally sewing them together with copper wire to form sprawling tapestries ever-undulating and changing in shape. Recipient of significant critical and curatorial attention, the artist was selected to represent the Ghanaian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019.


    In the same year, Anatsui was the subject of an important survey curated by the late Okwui Enwezor at Haus der Kunst, Munich, a show which subsequently travelled to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, in 2020. In January 2021, Anatsui participated in the Metropolitan Museum's first fully virtual exhibition, The Met Unframed. This October, El Anatsui created a site-specific artwork for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, which will be on display to the public until April 2024.


    The present edition is collected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, forming part of a larger list of institutions which house El Anatsui’s works such as the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the British Museum, London. 


    “In the art of El Anatsui, the search for form in the course of sculptural production never begins with a predetermined outline. Nor would the motivation that sets in progress the emergence of a particular form, shape, or arrangement be defined purely in formalist terms. Instead, Anatsui tends to privilege, and focus enormous attention on the language of his materials—on his media. Even while morphological affinities may lead one to consider the work’s relationship to African sculpture, there is never a single line connecting his engagement to this tradition.”
    —Oksui Enwezor on El Anatsui’s oeuvre

    • Provenance

      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Parkett 90, May 2012, pp.74-75 (illustrated)



signed, numbered and dated 'El 2012 20/35' on the reverse
archival dyes printed on cotton, hand stitched
135 x 135 cm. (53 1/8 x 53 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2012, this work is number 20 from an edition of 35.

Full Cataloguing

HK$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for HK$254,000

Contact Specialist

Anastasia Salnikoff
Head of Day Sale, Associate Specialist
+852 2318 2014

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 7 October 2023