Skip to main content

Fading Cloth

El Anatsui, Ghanaian, born 1944
Mixed media
Mixed media
Current Location
On View, Taylor Hall
dimensions variable according to installation: 126 in. x 21 ft. (320 x 640 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Minority Artists Purchase Fund, funds given by the Third Wednesday Group, Director's Discretionary Fund, and funds given by the Saint Louis Art Museum Docent Class of 2006 in honor of Stephanie Sigala
© El Anatsui. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Object Number
Fading Cloth is made from discarded liquor bottle tops that were found by the artist and then flattened and stitched together with copper wire. Though crafted from metals, this sculptural work suggests a large textile. Since Europeans traded liquor and textiles for gold and slaves in West Africa, Fading Cloth, which simulates fabric with packaging from liquor bottles, weaves together a range of social, political, historical, and visual references specific to that region. The artist describes his technique as subverting "the stereotype of metal as a stiff, rigid medium and rather showing it as a soft, pliable, almost sensuous material capable of attaining immense dimensions and being adapted to specific spaces."
2005 - 2007
October Gallery, London, England, representing the artist [1]

2007 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from October Gallery [2]

[1] Elisabeth Lalouschek of the October Gallery confirmed in an e-mail dated January 20, 2007 to Associate Curator Robin Clark that the piece came to the October Gallery directly from the artist in 2005 [SLAM document file].

[2] Invoice dated February 14, 2007 [SLAM document file] and Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, February 15, 2007.
Scroll back to top