A Different View

(Excerpt from ghostwritten essay on an art exhibit)

When one first walks into the exhibit, there is the piece called “Wall.”  In this portion there are several “walls” hanging from the ceiling, dropping to the floor, made out of aluminum and copper wire.  The metal pieces are of warm colors, and are connected together with occasional holes or gaps.  What was extremely noticeable was that the walls never hung straight.  Why is that?  As I searched for an answer to that question, I began to think that these “walls” weren’t the actual art.  The caption along the wall for this portion stated, “‘Walls are meant to block views,’ Anatsui says, ‘but they block only the view of the eye—the ocular view— not the imaginative view. When the eye scans a certain barrier, the imagination tends to go beyond that barrier. Walls reveal more things than they hide.’”  The last line especially made me take a second glance at that portion of the exhibit as a whole, rather than separate pieces.  I looked at the walls, the real ones, and saw the reflections and the shadows of the light that shone through the “walls.”  Some of them looked nature-like, such as trees and vines, others looked like various animals.  I am not sure if this was intentional, but it does seem plausible, especially considering the quote.  It could also answer the potential questions about why the constructed walls didn’t hang straight: they were to create an image elsewhere.

    As one walks past that room, there are smaller cubbies.  One contained “Drainpipe.”  This piece was constructed of milk tin lids.  There were six snake-looking shapes crawling up the side of the wall.  Throughout these cubbies there were a few other smaller pieces of works.  Continuing through the hall, there is a bigger room that contains some more of his larger pieces; such as “Earth’s Crust” and “Peek.”  “Earth’s Skin” from a frontal view, looked similar to his “wall” pieces: various colors, mainly warm, coming together to form a large piece.  However, this piece hung against the wall and popped out at the viewer at various instances.  Once again, there’s always a reason an artist does what they do and I began to wonder the purpose of the crinkling within the piece.  When looked at from an angular point of view, one can see various hills and layers, essentially the “Earth’s Skin.”  Within that room, there was the “Peek.”  Also created from milk can lids, there was a large peak, essentially a mountain, with small bumps surrounding the peek.  To me, the piece looked as if it was a mountain with about ten surrounding villages.

    Continuing through the hall, there are some of his smaller drawings and sculptures.  However, in the next large room, there is “Gravity and Grace,” and “Ozone Layer.”  “Ozone Layer” was created with the same material as the walls.  However, what was interesting about this piece was the fans.  Behind a few of the metal pieces, there were fans blowing out air that caused a crinkling sound.  Why?  Perhaps that is the imagined sound the earth makes when the plates are shifting?  “Gravity and Grace” was another large piece created out of the same material.  To be honest, I would’ve figured this piece to be more interesting since the exhibit was named after it.  I found it rather similar, therefore boring, to his other pieces.  The same warm colors were used: there is a large yellow piece and silver piece on the left and then it transforms to yellow, to red, back to yellow.  The yellow and silver portion does not touch the wall, but was we follow the yellows and reds; it slowly falls to the ground.

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