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Anselm Kiefer

Palmsonntag

March 30–May 11, 2008
First Baptist Church Gym, Los Angeles

Installation view Artwork © Anselm Kiefer

Installation view

Artwork © Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Joshua White

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Douglas M. Parker Studio

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Douglas M. Parker Studio

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Douglas M. Parker Studio

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Douglas M. Parker Studio

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007 36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variablePhoto by Douglas M. Parker Studio

Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007

36 panels of mixed media on board (in lead frame under glass), fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, Dimensions variable
Photo by Douglas M. Parker Studio

About

I don’t consider myself a Platonist but I think that the spirit is contained in the material and it is the artist’s mission to extract it.
—Anselm Kiefer

Gagosian is pleased to present a major exhibition in two parts by Anselm Kiefer, his first in Los Angeles in more than a decade. The Beverly Hills gallery will present recent paintings, sculptures, and innovative photo-collages and, as a special one-off project at the First Baptist Church Gym in mid-Wilshire, the major installation Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday).

Kiefer gives overt material presence to a vast range of cultural myths and metaphors, from the Old and New Testaments to the Kabbalah, from ancient Roman history to the poetry of Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan. He constructs elaborate scenographies that cross the boundaries of art and literature, painting and sculpture, in order to engage and understand the complex events of history; the ancestral epics of life, death, and the cosmos; and the fragile endurance of the sacred and the spiritual amid the ongoing destruction of the world. The monumental painting Der Brennende Dornbusch (The Burning Bush), with its dense, sedimentary surface, evokes the exemplary story of salvation in the desolate history of mankind; the pages of massive standing books forged from lead, earth, and silver provide the support for large dried sunflowers that reach towards the sky. In Kiefer’s monumental archive of human memory, the gallery and the library, and the frame and the book become inseparable, even interchangeable.

The dialogue between the intertwined fate of nature and humanity continues in the stirring Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) installation, which comprises an entire uprooted palm tree and thirty-six “vitrine” paintings containing vertically mounted branches of vegetation (palms, sunflower pods, mangroves) suspended in plaster and earth, like phantom specimens in the opened pages of a giant herbiary. In both pagan and Christian iconography, the palm with its sword-like branches, was known as an immortal tree that never actually perished but constantly regenerated, a new sheath of fronds budding from the side of a fallen limb. This traditional Greco-Roman symbol of military triumph was adapted by early Christianity as a sign of Christ’s victory over death and came to serve as a universal emblem of martyrdom. Thus Kiefer intends us to register Palm Sunday as a true triumph; understanding that Christ’s entry into Jerusalem inaugurated the events leading not only to the Passion but also to the Resurrection.

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