Transition from Cool to Warm
Anselm Kiefer is known for digging deep into historical consciousness and renewal for people and land devastated by war and destruction. His usually large-scale, heavy paintings done in multiplayer of media are well-recognized precisely for portraying the secrets of the forgotten landscapes with metal or concrete chunks looking menacingly in your face. With the exhibition at Gagosian gallery , which in addition to the paintings includes a collection of watercolors showing women, flowers and their erotic interplay, the author moves closer to the stage of rebirth.
Being born in Germany two month before the end of Wold War II, Kiefer’s oeuvre confronts Germany’s dark past and the horrors of Holocaust. Another very distinguished element of his work is an intermix of various forms of artistic expression. As such, in his earlier works he used a reference to Romanian Jewish writer Paul Celan‘s poem “Todesfuge” (“Death Fugue”). And later he created a series of tributes to futuristic Russian poet Velimir Khlebnikov. His latest works are full of Wagnerian references. Last year exhibition at the White Cube Bermondsey gallery in London titled Walhalla had an explicit theme of final destruction. Some pieces looked like “a set for Wagner’s Götterdämmerung” in the words of The Guardian review by Jonathan Jones.
This conversation between literature and art continues at Gagosian gallery with a collection of more than forty artist created books exhibited in glass cases. The gallery stresses the importance of these books to author’s body of work as they carry “the sequences of narrative information and visual effect”. The viewers are free to make up the rest of the storyline using their personal experience and interpretation of cues on the pages. This is not the first time in his career that the author turns to the watercolors. In fact, the title of the exhibition refers to his celebrated book from mid-70s full of sea-blues,warms and nudes.
Kiefer is often likened to Rodin in the depiction of emotions invoking historical dilemmas and human relationships. As this year the world celebrates a centennial of Rodin death, Rodin Museum in Paris and Barnes Foundation have Kiefer Rodin exhibition ongoing. It will be on view at Rodin Museum in Paris until October 22, 2017 then move to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA from November 17, 2017 – March 12, 2018.
In November Anselm Kiefer will receive J. Paul Getty Medal. Getty Board of Trustees explained to Artnews that the medal recognizes Kiefer’s engagement “in big ideas and historic moments, and sharing with the Getty a passionate commitment to global culture.”
Venue: Gagosian Gallery 522 West 21st Street, New York, NY Time: May 5 – September 1, 2017