Notation 2016, No.5 »Anselm Kiefer at Centre Pompidou«
»Art cannot help directly. Art is the way to make it obvious. Art is cynical, it shows the negativity of the world, it’s the first condemnation.«, Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer (born 1945) is a German painter and sculptor. In 1999 the Japan Art Association awarded him the Praemium Imperiale for his lifetime achievements. In the explanatory statement it reads:
» Only a few contemporary artists have such a pronounced sense of art's duty to engage the past and the ethical questions of the present, and are in the position to express the possibility of the absolution of guilt through human effort.«
Anselm Kiefer is a German Painter, Sculptor, Photographer, and Installation Artist, he is considered as one of the movement of Neo-Expressionism.
Anselm Kiefer's monumental, often confrontational canvases were groundbreaking at a time when painting was considered all but dead as a medium.
The artist is most known for his subject matter dealing with German history and myth, particularly as it relates to the Holocaust.
These works forced his contemporaries to deal with Germany's past in an era when acknowledgment of Nazism was taboo. Kiefer incorporates heavy impasto and uncommon materials into his pieces, such as lead, glass shards, dried flowers, and strands of hay, many of which reference various aspects of history and myth, German and otherwise.
Influenced by his contemporaries Joseph Beuys and Georg Baselitz, as well as by postwar tendencies in Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual art, Kiefer is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement, which diverged from Minimalism and abstraction to develop new representational and symbolic languages.
Anselm Kiefer is a history painter in a traditional sense. His art often deals with themes related to German history and national identity, including Norse legend, Wagnerian opera, and the Holocaust.
The relation to the Holocaust was an attempt to bring the Nazi period to the forefront of national and international conversations, often causing controversy in Germany.
Kiefer's repertoire of imagery is wide ranging, incorporating representational and symbolic motifs, such as sigils, occult icons, architectural interiors, and landscape elements to provoke an emotional and psychological effect on the viewer.
The following description of the work of Anselm Kiefer is partly taken from http://www.theartstory.org/artist-kiefer-anselm.htm
From December 2015 to April 2016 the Centre Pompidou had staged a retrospective of Anselm Kiefer’s work, the first in France for 30 years.
The exhibition consisted of close to 150 works, with a selection of approximately 60 paintings, including iconic works from the 1970s and ‘80s.
»Kiefer’s Paris Retrospective Is Testament to the Regenerative Power of Art – « Emily Nathan, artsy.net, 2015
»Like all those of his generation struggling with their parents’ Nazi pasts, Kiefer was unsure of his responsibility as a German artist—but a room full of massive architectural paintings from the 1980s marks the reintroduction of history into his work.«
»Because most Nazi buildings were leveled by the Allied bombings, Germany lacked ruins—an absence that aided the country in its will to forget.«
»Kiefer addressed these omissions by imagining the destroyed Neo-Classical edifices built by Nazi architects like Albert Speer as ruins.«