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Fold Crumple Crush: The Art of El Anatsui
A Film by Susan Vogel
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Fold Crumple Crush is included on the same DVD as Anatsui at Work
"[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, Nsukka, 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 insider's view of the artist's practice, the ingenious steps and thousands of hours of labor that convert used bottle tops into huge, opulent wall hangings. Here Anatsui explains how his artworks have become a marriage of painting and sculpture, objects that speak of African history but also reach for the ethereal—and he talks about his aspirations for artworks he has yet to make.

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Behind the charming, easy-going 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 great world stage of the Venice Biennale; we follow him back to the small town of Nsukka as he goes about his daily life, then 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 us about his formative years, and reveals a youthful discovery that clouded his life.

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Accompanied by ANATSUI AT WORK: EIGHT SHORT FILMS. These elegant, instructive shorts depict Anatsui demonstrating his artistic process and discussing his theories on specific media as he creates one of his most ambitious works in Nsukka and installs it on the façade of the Palazzo Fortuny Museum in Venice. They are designed for use either as stand-alone statements, or as a 28-minute film. ANATSUI AT WORK, shot on three continents with FOLD CRUMPLE CRUSH, contains little duplication of the longer film aside from condensed sequences of the artist's studio.

"HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...a finely crafted, thoroughly engaging portrait of Africa’s most celebrated living artist." —Educational Media Reviews Online

"A sensitive and sophisticated portrait that will intrigue Anatsui devotees even as it wins him new admirers." —Elliot Ross, Africa Is A Country

"Moves elegantly among El Anatsui's many spheres." —Jacob Burns Film Center

"Engaging, informative, and sensitive." —Economist Intelligent Life

2011 African Studies Association Conference
2013 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
  

53 minutes / color
Release: 2011
Copyright: 2011
Sale/Institutional: $398

This DVD is sold above with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights. It is also available for home video use, click here.

Subject areas:
Africa, African Studies, Art, Biographies, Cultural Anthropology, Environment, Environmental Film Festivals, Globalization, High School Use, US & Canadian Broadcast Rights

Related Links:
"El Anatsui: Art and Life" by Susan Vogel, in hardcover on Amazon
Quotes about El Anatsui
Film's Official Website
About related films Anatsui At Work (PDF)
The Films of Susan Vogel


Related Titles:
Anatsui at Work: A swift instructive look at the artist El Anatsui demonstrating his process, and discussing his theories.

Fang: Mixes documentary and fiction techniques to recount an African art object's 100 year journey - a whole century of Western attitudes towards African culture packed into 8 minutes!

Malick Sidibé: Short but sweet look at the work of the renowned African artist whose photographs have documented social and cultural changes in Mali over a forty-year period.

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