Things we like #11: Behind the Red Moon - Coley Porter Bell

Things we like #11: Behind the Red Moon

Written by: Linda Becker, Senior Designer 

At CPB, we’re lucky to have an office situated in the beating hearting of London, just a stone’s throw from the Tate Modern. So, recently I took a lunchtime stroll to see the current Turbine Hall exhibit by El Anatsui titled ‘Behind the Red Moon’, which runs until April. 

It’s a large scale, sculptural installation comprised of three pieces suspended from the ceiling, hanging in mid-air and another draping onto the ground, almost rippling into (what feels like) flowing waves of fabric. 

Made from metal liquor bottle tops and fragments connected with copper wire, the installation elevates the material by subverting it from small throw-away parts of commodity goods that are shipped across the globe, to intricate, complex structures that, according to the artists, tell a story of migration during the transatlantic slave trade and reference the movement of people. 

The final piece, furthest into the iconic turbine hall, really drew me in. It’s incredibly immersive in different ways, playing with its impact from afar and up close. From the distance the monumental scale almost feels overwhelming. Up close, areas of tightly packed structures feel like an amour or shield, whereas light and airy meshes have the delicacy of embroidery. The changing rhythm of color, arrangement and density is captivating. It also interacts with the light in the vast space, which beautifully illuminates different areas of the pieces throughout the day and feels like its constantly changing.  

What stuck with me is the idea of finding beauty and telling stories through things that get thrown away and are usually dismissed with a flick into the bin. It succeeds in making the viewer take a closer look at and admire what’s usually not deemed worthy.