The Expressive Impulse
143

Anselm Kiefer

artmastered:

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Anselm Kiefer, Black Flakes (Schwarze Flocken), 2006, oil, emulsion, acrylic, charcoal, lead books, branches and plaster on canvas, 330 x 570 cm, Private Collection.

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Anselm Kiefer, Heroic Symbol V (Heroisches Sinnbild V)1970, oil on canvas, 150 x 260.5 cm, Collection Wuerth.

Before heading to the Royal Academy to see its latest single artist show, I’d thought that my knowledge of Anselm Kiefer’s life, character and oeuvre was pretty decent. I’ve always been a big fan of modern German artists, such as Richter and Kippenberger, but Kiefer has remained a firm favourite. That being said, the Academy’s phenomenal new retrospective revealed several sides to the artist that I was shamefully unfamiliar with. It’s rare for me to come away from an exhibition feeling completely enlightened in this way!

Unusually, the show begins with what can only be described as an onslaught of visual material: sketchbooks, diaries, watercolours and oils from the late 1960s and 1970s fill the space, and could probably make up an entire exhibition themselves. But it’s a great way to introduce the artist to those who might be less familiar with him, and paves the way for the incredible material to follow. From here, the galleries are generally divided by a certain theme or period of Kiefer’s life, though some are dedicated to just a couple of pieces that might be linked by material or colour. Lead panels studded with sparkling diamonds, designed to emulate constellations, were absolute show-stealers for me. As was Ages of the World, a colossal mixed-media installation created by the artist exclusively for the show. It’s tucked away in a side room, but the impact of its size and subject is certainly felt when you catch a glimpse of it through the archway. By the time you reach the very last room - a labyrinth of monochrome woodcut collages depicting the River Rhine - Kiefer’s unique vision is complete. The nature of the his work, combined with the exhibition’s clever curation, creates an overall feeling of stepping into the artist’s mind and experiencing his obsessions, his knowledge, and the stories he’s longed to tell.

I don’t want to spoil it and give too much more away, because this is the absolute must-see show of the autumn. Just trust me: if you’re fixated by the magical, the mystical, the weird and the wonderful, then Kiefer’s spectacle is one that will inspire, astound and mesmerise.

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Anselm Kiefer, Winter Landscape (Winterlandschaft), 1970, watercolour, gouache, and graphite pencil on paper, 42.9 x 35.6 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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Anselm Kiefer, Interior (Innenraum), 1981, oil, acrylic, and paper on canvas, 287.5 x 311 cm, Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

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Anselm Kiefer, The Orders of the Night (Die Orden der Nacht), 1996, emulsion, acrylic and shellac on canvas, 356 x 463 cm, Seattle Art Museum.

'Anselm Kiefer' is on at the Royal Academy until 14th December 2014. All images © Anselm Kiefer. For further information on image copyrights, see below:

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306
centuriespast:

Rainstorm over the Sea
by John Constable
Date painted: c.1824–1828
Oil on paper laid on canvas, 23.5 x 32.6 cm
Collection: Royal Academy of Arts

centuriespast:

Rainstorm over the Sea

by John Constable

Date painted: c.1824–1828

Oil on paper laid on canvas, 23.5 x 32.6 cm

Collection: Royal Academy of Arts

169
douchamp:

Edvard Munch — Der Tag Danach [The Day After], drypoint and aquatint, 1895.

douchamp:

Edvard Munch — Der Tag Danach [The Day After], drypoint and aquatint, 1895.

20aliens:

Summer Landscape, Krumau, 1917 oil on canvasby Egon Schiele

20aliens:

Summer Landscape, Krumau, 1917
oil on canvas
by Egon Schiele

163
centuriespast:

TURNER, Joseph Mallord WilliamRain, Steam and Speed The Great Western Railwaybefore 1844Oil on canvas, 91 x 122 cmNational Gallery, London

centuriespast:

TURNER, Joseph Mallord William
Rain, Steam and Speed The Great Western Railway
before 1844
Oil on canvas, 91 x 122 cm
National Gallery, London

223
centuriespast:

A Standing Dissected Man, Posterior View, with Separate Sections of the Brain
by Jacques-Fabien Gautier D’Agoty
Date painted: 1764/1765
Oil on canvas , 203 x 65 cm
Collection: Wellcome Library

centuriespast:

A Standing Dissected Man, Posterior View, with Separate Sections of the Brain

by Jacques-Fabien Gautier D’Agoty

Date painted: 1764/1765

Oil on canvas , 203 x 65 cm

Collection: Wellcome Library

108
baroqueporn:

Ecstasy of St. Theresa
baroqueporn
Baroque Sass. 

baroqueporn:

Ecstasy of St. Theresa

baroqueporn

Baroque Sass. 

116
centuriespast:

A Standing Figure Showing the Vertebral Column, Nerves, Kidneys, Heart and Brain
by Jacques-Fabien Gautier D’Agoty
Date painted: 1764/1765
Oil on canvas , 203 x 65 cm
Collection: Wellcome Library

centuriespast:

A Standing Figure Showing the Vertebral Column, Nerves, Kidneys, Heart and Brain

by Jacques-Fabien Gautier D’Agoty

Date painted: 1764/1765

Oil on canvas , 203 x 65 cm

Collection: Wellcome Library

187
centuriespast:

COX, DavidThe Night Trainc. 1849Watercolour, 280 x 380 mmCity Art Gallery, Birmingham

centuriespast:

COX, David
The Night Train
c. 1849
Watercolour, 280 x 380 mm
City Art Gallery, Birmingham

117
centuriespast:

DEGAS, EdgarJockeys in the Rain1880-81Pastel, 46 x 55 cmKelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

centuriespast:

DEGAS, Edgar
Jockeys in the Rain
1880-81
Pastel, 46 x 55 cm
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow