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"[El Anatsui] has become a global star and achieved that status by working at home, finding a grand and modest beauty there, and spreading that beauty everywhere." —New York Times
Filmed over three years in Venice, Italy; Nsukka, Nigeria; and the United States, this is a powerful portrait of Africa's most widely acclaimed contemporary artist, El Anatsui. Fold Crumple Crush: The Art of El Anatsui gives an inside view of the artist's practice, including the ingenious steps and thousands of hours of labor put into converting used bottle tops into huge, opulent wall hangings. Here, Anatsui explains how his artworks have become a marriage of painting and sculpture, how his objects speak of African history but also reach for the ethereal, and about his aspirations for artworks he has yet to make.
Behind the charming, easygoing artist we discover a man who remains mysterious even to his dearest friends. The film circles around Anatsui, drawing ever closer to a deep understanding of the man and his surprising bottle-top hangings. We see the celebrated artist installing work on the world stage of the Venice Biennale; we follow him back to the small town of Nsukka as he goes about his daily life; and we watch him inside the hive of his studio directing assistants as they stitch together bottle tops into a vast metal hanging. Finally, Anatsui admits us to the privacy of his home, where he tells about his formative years and reveals a youthful discovery that clouded his life.