The Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, is currently featuring an exhibit of “Pisarro’s People.” It’s a fine and interesting show, but to me the summer’s gem is in the Clark’s Stone Center, a small exhibit of extraordinarily beautiful reclaimed and recycled “fashioned cloth” by El Anatsui, a Ghanaian sculptor, captured here on video:
There are three large metal “cloth” sculptures — tapestries, really — that make up the exhibit. This is one of them:
They are dramatic and impressive — but it’s in the closeups, in the details, that the exquisite working and beauty of color really shows:
and closer still:
I spent a long time working my way slowly along these alluring “canvases”, and then ended up spending a long time at home working up a Picasa Web album so that you can get a longer glimpse of some of the amazing artistry that there’s no room for in this post.
But perhaps the most remarkable thing of the show for me was El Anatsui’s credo, which introduces the exhibit:
Amazingly, El Anatsui is not possessive of his art. He does not claim exclusive interpretation. Whatever institution or gallery is showing his work gets to drape and arrange it to suit their own taste, because — and this is how I interpret such an extraordinary attitude — the art work is alive, and the proof of its vitality is the capacity to change and be changed. Just as (I think he would assert) the proof of our own vitality as living beings is the capacity to change and be changed —
And to think that I have always been frightened of change, and resistant to it! This exhibit (in the new pavilion that is Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s first token of his coming reconstruction of the Clark) accomplished something for me even greater than giving me delight in beauty.
It changed me.
If you’re anywhere near Western Massachusetts this summer, until October 16th, please try and get to see El Anatsui’s artwork. It may change you too —-