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Anselm Kiefer

Installation view, Anselm Kiefer: For Louis-Ferdinand Céline: Voyage au bout de la nuit, Copenhagen Contemporary, Copenhagen, 2017 Artwork © Anselm Kiefer

Installation view, Anselm Kiefer: For Louis-Ferdinand Céline: Voyage au bout de la nuit, Copenhagen Contemporary, Copenhagen, 2017

Artwork © Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Les extases féminines (The Feminine Ecstasies), 2013 Watercolor on paper, 65 ¾ × 60 ⅝ inches (167 × 154 cm)© Anselm Kiefer, photo by Georges Poncet

Anselm Kiefer, Les extases féminines (The Feminine Ecstasies), 2013

Watercolor on paper, 65 ¾ × 60 ⅝ inches (167 × 154 cm)
© Anselm Kiefer, photo by Georges Poncet

Anselm Kiefer, Paul Celan: wir schöpften die Finsternis leer, wir fanden das wort, das den Sommer heraufkam: Blume; (We scooped the darkness empty, we found the word that ascended summer: flower), 2012 Oil, emulsion, acrylic, on photograph on canvas, 110 ¼ × 149 ⅝ inches (280 × 380 cm )© Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Paul Celan: wir schöpften die Finsternis leer, wir fanden das wort, das den Sommer heraufkam: Blume; (We scooped the darkness empty, we found the word that ascended summer: flower), 2012

Oil, emulsion, acrylic, on photograph on canvas, 110 ¼ × 149 ⅝ inches (280 × 380 cm )
© Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2010 Photograph, acrylic, shellac, ash, cotton dress, burned books, and plaster coated thorn bushes in glass and steel frame, 111 × 120 ⅞ × 13 13/16 inches (282 × 307 × 35 cm)© Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2010

Photograph, acrylic, shellac, ash, cotton dress, burned books, and plaster coated thorn bushes in glass and steel frame, 111 × 120 ⅞ × 13 13/16 inches (282 × 307 × 35 cm)
© Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Untitled (Berenice), 2003 Painted photograph with hair, 50 × 38 inches (127 × 96.5 cm)© Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Untitled (Berenice), 2003

Painted photograph with hair, 50 × 38 inches (127 × 96.5 cm)
© Anselm Kiefer

About

Anselm Kiefer's monumental body of work represents a microcosm of collective memory, visually encapsulating a broad range of cultural, literary, and philosophical allusions—from the Old and New Testaments, Kabbalah mysticism, Norse mythology and Wagner’s Ring Cycle to the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan.

Born during the closing months of World War II, Kiefer reflects upon Germany’s post-war identity and history, grappling with the national mythology of the Third Reich. Fusing art and literature, painting and sculpture, Kiefer engages the complex events of history and the ancestral epics of life, death, and the cosmos. His boundless repertoire of imagery is paralleled only by the breadth of media palpable in his work.

Kiefer’s oeuvre encompasses paintings, vitrines, installations, artist books, and an array of works on paper such as drawings, watercolors, collages, and altered photographs. The physical elements of his practice—from lead, concrete, and glass to textiles, tree roots, and burned books—are as symbolically resonant as they are vast-ranging. By integrating, expanding, and regenerating imagery and techniques, he brings to light the importance of the sacred and spiritual, myth and memory.

Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany. After studying law and Romance languages, he attended the School of Fine Arts at Freiburg im Breisgau and the Art Academy in Karlsruhe while maintaining a contact with Joseph Beuys.

Kiefer’s work has been shown and collected by major museums worldwide, including the following: “Bilder und Bücher,” Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1978); “Verbrennen, verholzen, versenken, versanden,” West German Pavilion, 39th Biennale di Venezia, Italy (1980); “Margarete—Sulamith,” Museum Folkwang, Germany (1981); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (1984, traveled to ARC Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; and Israel Museum, Jerusalem); “Peintures 1983–1984,” Musée d’Art Contemporain, Bordeaux (1984); and Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois (1987, traveled to Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Museum of Modern Art, New York, through 1989).

Further museum exhibitions include “Bücher 1969–1990,” Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany (1990, traveled to Kunstverein München, Germany; and Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland, through 1991); Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Germany (1991); “Melancholia,” Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo (1993, traveled to Kyoto National Museum of Art, Japan; and Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan); “Himmel-Erde,” Museo Correr, Venice (1997); and “El viento, el tiempo, el silencio,” Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1998).

In recent years, Anselm Kiefer’s solo exhibitions have included Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2000); “Maleri 1998–2000,” Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebkæk, Denmark (2001); “Die sieben Himmelspaläste,“ Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2001); “I sette palazzi celesti,” Fondazione Pirelli, Milan (2004); “Heaven and Earth,” Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2005, traveled to Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, Québec; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California, through 2007); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain (2007); “Sternenfall / Chute d’étoiles,” Monumenta, Grand Palais, Paris (2007); “Anselm Kiefer au Louvre,” Musée du Louvre, Paris (2007); Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebkæk, Denmark (2010); “Shevirat Hakelim,” Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2011); “Beyond Landscape,” Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2013); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2014); “l’alchimie du livre,” Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris (2015); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2015); “Kiefer Rodin,” Musée Rodin, Paris (2017, traveled to the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, through 2018); “For Velimir Khlebnikov — Fates of Nations,” State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2017); and “Provocations,” The Met Breuer, New York (2017).

Anselm Kiefer

Photo: Peter Rigaud c/o Shotview Syndication

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Anselm Kiefer, Uraeus, 2017–18 (detail) © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet

Public Installation

Anselm Kiefer
Uraeus

May 2–July 22, 2018
Rockefeller Center, New York
www.publicartfund.org

Uraeus is Anselm Kiefer’s first US site-specific public sculpture. Commissioned by Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer, and presented by Gagosian, the work consists of a gigantic open book with eagle’s wings 30 feet in span, both made of lead, on top of a 20-foot-tall lead-clad stainless steel column. Clustered around the base are further outsize lead books, while a large snake coils up the column. Lead is one of the artist’s preferred materials owing to its soft, fluid properties traditionally associated with alchemical transformation, especially its second stage: dissolution.

Anselm Kiefer, Uraeus, 2017–18 (detail) © Anselm Kiefer. Photo: Georges Poncet

Anselm Kiefer, Uraeus, 2017–18 (detail) © Anselm Kiefer

Artist Talk

Anselm Kiefer

Monday, April 30, 2018, 6:30–8pm
New School, New York
www.publicartfund.org

Anselm Kiefer will speak with Richard Calvocoressi about his new work and past public art projects on the occasion of his new public installation Uraeus at Rockefeller Center, New York, on view May 2–July 22, 2018. To attend the event, purchase tickets at newschool.edu

Anselm Kiefer, Uraeus, 2017–18 (detail) © Anselm Kiefer

Photo: Peter Rigaud

Award

Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer will be presented with the J. Paul Getty Medal to honor his extraordinary contributions to the practice, understanding, and support of the arts on November 13, 2017 at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York.

Photo: Peter Rigaud

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Museum Exhibitions

Thomas Houseago, Blue Owl, 2018 © Thomas Houseago

On View

RA Summer Exhibition 2019

Through August 12, 2019
Royal Academy of Arts, London
www.royalacademy.org.uk

Running annually since 1769, the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open-submission art show. It brings together art in all mediums—prints, paintings, film, photography, sculpture, architectural works and more—with some 1,200 works on display, many of them for the first time. Work by Michael Craig-Martin, Thomas Houseago, and Anselm Kiefer is included.

Thomas Houseago, Blue Owl, 2018 © Thomas Houseago

Anselm Kiefer, Barren Landscape, 1987–89 © Anselm Kiefer

On View

Anselm Kiefer
Bøker og tresnitt

Through September 14, 2019
Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo
www.afmuseet.no

This exhibition aims to point out the various connections Anselm Kiefer has with poetry, myths, history, philosophy, and alchemy, through a collection of artist’s books dating from the years 1969 to 2017, along with a selection of his woodcuts, the most recent of which are being shown for the first time. This exhibition has traveled from the Fondation Jan Michalski in Montricher, Switzerland.

Anselm Kiefer, Barren Landscape, 1987–89 © Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Territories and peoples of our time (A politico-geographical manual), 1976 © Anselm Kiefer

Closed

Anselm Kiefer
Livres et xylographies

February 8–May 12, 2019
Fondation Jan Michalski, Montricher, Switzerland
www.fondation-janmichalski.com

This exhibition aims to point out the many connections Anselm Kiefer has with poetry, myths, Sumerian and biblical stories, fairy tales, history, philosophy, kabbalah, and alchemy, through a collection of artist’s books dating from the years 1969 to 2017, along with a selection of his woodcuts, the most recent of which are being shown for the first time.

Anselm Kiefer, Territories and peoples of our time (A politico-geographical manual), 1976 © Anselm Kiefer

Ed Ruscha, Azteca/Azteca In Decline, 2007, Broad Art Foundation © Ed Ruscha

Closed

A Journey That Wasn’t

June 30, 2018–February 10, 2019
The Broad, Los Angeles
www.thebroad.org

This exhibition explores complex representations of time and its passage. The show includes more than fifty works drawn from the museum’s collection of postwar and contemporary art and features more than twenty artists, including Richard Artschwager, Gregory Crewdson, Andreas Gursky, Anselm Kiefer, and Ed Ruscha.

Ed Ruscha, Azteca/Azteca In Decline, 2007, Broad Art Foundation © Ed Ruscha

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Press

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