El Anatsui’s Broken Bridge II

In the summer of 2012, Olson Kundig was approached by Friends of the High Line to aid in the installation of artist El Anatsui’s Broken Bridge II—a 157-foot by 37-foot tapestry made of pressed tin and mirrors—on the exterior of a building adjacent to the High Line in New York City.

Originally shown in Paris during the 2012 Triennale, the task was to design a temporary mounting system for a reconfigured version of the work by the artist for this unique location. Responding to the need for a cost effective and easy installation, an armature of wood and steel mesh enabled the work to be easily installed and demounted by hanging from the rooftop of the existing building. Broken Bridge II was on view from November 21, 2012 – October 31, 2013.

I come from a place where you have a lot of sky. The sky starts from almost ground level and goes up. But over here you have to really look up to realize that there is eventually sky somewhere. That’s the experience for many people who come from a foreign country and come to New York—sky is not a common commodity.

El Anatsui is a celebrated contemporary artist based in Nigeria known for his monumental wall tapestries, which are intricately composed of metallic bottle caps culled from discarded Nigerian liquor bottles and woven together with copper wire. Broken Bridge II creates a stunning visual of wave-like patterns and folds, evoking traditional practices of tapestry weaving, while reflecting the surrounding landscape of the High Line. The installation was viewable from the High Line and the sidewalks along West 21st and West 22nd Streets. Broken Bridge II marked the artist’s largest outdoor installation to date.

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