Okwui Enwezor will co-curate a major survey of works by the Ghanaian artist El Anatsui at Munich’s Haus der Kunst next month less than a year after a dispute with the museum management over the institution’s finances. Along with the art historian Chika Okeke-Agulu, Enwezor will present the largest ever survey of Anatsui’s work (Triumphant Scale, 8 March-28 July) including several of his signature bottle-cap sculptures. The show is due to tour to Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha in the autumn.
Enwezor stepped down as the artistic director of Haus der Kunst last June because of ill health. He later defended himself against accusations of financial mismanagement of the museum after Bernhard Spies, the institution’s commercial director, said that Enwezor’s ambitious exhibition programme was largely responsible for a substantial financial shortfall.
Anatsui will unveil new sculptures in the show and a large-scale work on the façade of the museum. “This survey will occupy the museum’s entire East Wing and encompass every media in the artist’s prodigious fifty-year career,” says a museum statement. The exhibition will also include wood sculptures and wall reliefs dating from the mid-1970s to the late 1990s and ceramic sculptures of the late 1970s, along with drawings, prints, and books.
Anatsui told the BBC in 2015: “I think that in sculpture you can subsume all the other areas of art, like painting, because sculpture can also engage with colour.” The same year he received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale which was organised by Enwezor, who was the first African curator of the 124-year-old exhibition.
UPDATE (21 February): The Bavarian State Minister of the Arts and chairman of the supervisory board of the Haus der Kunst, Bernd Sibler, has announced that a finding committee comprising five members including Nicholas Serota, former Tate director, and Doryun Chong, the chief curator of M+ in Hong Kong, will seek a new artistic director. "With the necessary degree of calmness, we want to find a perfectly qualified expert. The finding committee can take all the time it needs," Sibler says.