Anselm Kiefer’s monumental body of work represents a microcosm of collective memory, visually encapsulating a broad range of cultural, literary, and philosophical allusions as well as symbols from religion, mysticism, mythology, history, and poetry.
Hans Ulrich Obrist is artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries, London. He was previously the curator of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Since his first show, World Soup (The Kitchen Show), in 1991, he has curated more than three hundred exhibitions. Photo: Tyler Mitchell
HANS ULRICH OBRISTWhat is harmony?
ANSELM KIEFERI mistrust harmony. Harmony can be the opposite of truth, which according to the coincidentia oppositorum is, in essence, untruth.
HUOWhat is your unrealized project?
HUOWhat keeps you coming back to the studio?
AKI never leave it.
HUOWho do you admire most in history?
AKAlexander the Great.
HUOThe future is . . . ?
AKWe all create from memory, without which nothing new can emerge. As Andrea Emo stated, “The new arises out of us, ourselves the future if we can relinquish it.”
HUODo you write poems?
AKNo, but the poems of great poets, some of which I have learned by heart, accompany me, they are in me. For me they are like buoys in the sea—without them I am lost.
HUOWho or what would you have liked to have been?
HUOWhat was your biggest mistake?
AKTo leave Germany—a mistake that, in the end, was fruitful for me and my work.
HUOWhat music are you listening to?
AKHildegard of Bingen.
HUOWhat is your favorite book?
AKAt the moment, Finnegans Wake.