Blogpost: Anselm Kiefer - Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Posted by T • September 29, 2020

Posted by T • September 29, 2020

Anselm Kiefer - Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac


I was recently asked what I like so much about Anselm Kiefer.

A simple question, yet not that easy to answer: Ever since I first laid eyes on Kiefer’s Wege der Weltweisheit: Die Hermannsschlacht, I felt his art reverberate deep inside the nether regions of my DNA in a manner that resembled a feeling of connectedness. A connectedness that I am now able to indulge in on a weekly basis after my runs as the woodcut is being exhibited in the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

I felt a charge, was intrigued from the get-go and throughout my travels and stints on different continents made sure to pilgrimage to wherever I could experience Kiefer’s multi-faceted, sometimes melancholic and often confrontational emissions in the flesh.

Experiencing Anselm Kiefer’s artwork in the third dimension is akin to unlocking atavisms inside of me – it provides a veil to give form to incomprehensible abstract concepts that make perfect sense, yet I would find myself hard-pressed to put into words. This includes not only adding depth and dimensions to the significance and effects of historical events but also phenomena that might sound odd to the uninitiated, e.g. experiencing the cosmological aspects of sunflowers or receiving information radiating from within the materials used for his art.

It would be difficult to recommend a starting point to venture into Kiefer’s cosmos as in the past forty years, his artistic endeavours could not be more varied, layered and symbolic and some meant to remain literal “works in progress”, i.e. the materials being highly textured and tactile with the underlying intent for the individual components to interact, disintegrate and eventually dissolve.

Born in 1945 and having been a student of Joseph Beuys, the exploration of Germany’s post-war identity has been a major theme throughout Kiefer’s work. However, what he channelled through his lens did not just stop with Germany’s fraught history but eventually started to encompass human history and rituals of memorialisation at large, which branched out into the artistic interpretation of cabalistic and religious concepts as well as channelling his deep connection with books and literature through his art, often using hand-written references and quotes to either accompany or juxtapose his artwork.

Needless to say that I was elated when I learned about Anselm Kiefer’s current exhibition being dedicated to a series inspired by one of Germany’s most prominent poets of the Middle Ages, i.e. Walther von der Vogelweide.

With this series being multi-layered in nature, the densely painted surfaces pictorially decipher, decode and balance the dichotomy of beauty and decay with von der Vogelweide’s poems serving as the guiding principle, anchoring each artwork and through symbiosis and evoking associations connected to historic, mythological and cultural events.

Not unlike with his previous incarnations, Kiefer actively resists to create affirmative art, which is further elaborated on in Galerie Ropac’s comprehensive catalogue, released to accompany the Walther von der Vogelweide exhibition, including illuminating commentary along with conversation between Anselm Kiefer and gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac.

Gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac has a long-standing history with Anselm Kiefer and while I have unfortunately not been able to visit any of their exhibitions or their galleries in Salzburg, Paris and London, the wonderful books that are still available from Ropac are an experience in themselves and give a carefully curated impression of what I have missed out on.

An example par excellence is the book that was published on the occasion of the exhibition Fu?r Andrea Emo, which not only details the monumental canvases and sculptures, but also includes extracts of Anselm Kiefer’s diary, shedding light on the thoughts that inspired the use of boiling lead on canvases to create a palimpsest illustrating the concepts of regeneration and destruction – themes that were inherent in Emo’s nihilistic reflections.

The exhibition Im Gewitter der Rosen and the accompanying book brings this expose full circle as apart from Arthur Rimbaud’s absinthe-tinged poetry and Ingeborg Bachmann’s prose work, one of the main leitmotifs is the aforementioned Walther von der Vogelweide.

In his idiosyncratic manner, Kiefer uses the metaphorical poems to inspire his storm-riddled, multi-layered sedimentary paintings, which at times look more like they were “dripped” rather than formally painted. The sculptures of this series see the recurring incorporation of sunflowers and glass against the backdrop of the firmament, evoking connections between natural forces as well as micro- and macroscopic concepts and on a grander scheme, the cycle of life.


image from gallery website

T • September 29, 2020

More recent blogposts

Classical Antiquity in Heavy Metal Music

Posted by T • August 4, 2021

Classical Antiquity in Heavy Metal Music  Bloomsbury Academic   Examining the connection between modern phenomena and antique times, Bloomsbury Academic’s book series offers in-depth insights on the origin of what we while our time away with during these Coptic times.  In this case, a whole instalment is dedicated to marrying the study of heavy metal music with the classics, a … Read more

The Formative Years - The Cure

Posted by T • August 2, 2021

The Formative Years - The Cure There are many bands and / or musical styles that people consider their “guilty pleasure”, a notion I do not subscribe to as you either like something or you do not. Why feel guilty about it? The Cure is one of the bands that has been a steady companion ever since a friend made … Read more

The Formative Years – Turbonegro

Posted by T • August 1, 2021

The Formative Years – Turbonegro I have yet to come across a respectable authority with credentials in the realm of rock that would be able to bring something remotely negative forward regarding the musical legacy of Turbonegro. While the band is still going today, my infatuation with them started in the early 1990s and I still hold their 1989 to … Read more

Search/Play/Repeat - July 2021

Posted by Loren • July 31, 2021

We cover a lot at Scene Point Blank. It's part of the job, but first and foremost we're music fans. While we talk a lot of new releases in the news/reviews/interviews, music is timeless and we need a way to share it. Plus, I just love a good mixtape and want to share stuff. While Aaron typically covers Search/Play/Repeat and … Read more

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – 7th Day and Shedshaker

Posted by T • July 31, 2021

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – 7th Day Brewing and Shedshaker   The story of 7th Day Brewing is one that could not be more DIY in nature as it all goes back to founder Mike Beresford Jones trying his hand in homebrewing in a bid to create the kind of brews he could not find anywhere, the fruits of … Read more

The Formative Years - Rich Kids on LSD

Posted by T • July 31, 2021

The Formative Years - Rich Kids on LSD When I first got a hold of Burkhard Jaerisch’s Flex US Hardcore Discography long before the advent of the internet, I not only devoured it but set out to get my paws on all records that were deemed worthy of a 10 / 10 rating.  While I did not necessarily agree with … Read more

Reckless Brewing and Moo Brew’s Gin Boilermaker

Posted by T • July 29, 2021

Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Reckless Brewing and Moo Brew’s Gin Boilermaker   Having honed and refined channelling her alchemy in the creation of craft beers, the quality of which has left an indelible mark on the firmament of Australian craft brews, Reckless Brewing’s co-founder Grace has and continue to contribute to shaping the DNA of one of the … Read more

Beethoven and Wagner vs Nietzsche

Posted by T • July 26, 2021

Beethoven: A life University of California Press   There is no shortage of books dedicated to the life of a composer whose legacy has never ceased to reverberate and impact music at large. Released to commemorate the two hundred fiftieth anniversary of his birth, what sets this biography apart in terms of authority is partly due to the unprecedented access … Read more

Water of Life – Limeburners and Earp Distillery

Posted by T • July 25, 2021

Water of Life – Limeburners and Earp Distillery   Over the last ten years, Australia has firmly established itself on the map of nations that produce quality malt whiskies. Slowly but steadily, rye whiskies created on terra australis have been making a splash on the scene with quite a few distilleries crafting their own incarnations of American style rye whiskey. … Read more

The Formative Years – Rugby and Canterbury

Posted by T • July 24, 2021

The Formative Years – Rugby and Canterbury I’ve covered the mecca that Washington DC proved to be as a hotbed for hardcore and punk as part of this series before, however, missed to shed light onto one of my favourite releases from the 1980s era, i.e. the vitally important split LP of the short-lived bands The Faith and Void.  While … Read more