Centre Pompidou – Anselm Kiefer
Located in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, The Centre Pompidou, is quite a sight to behold and sets a contrast to the backdrop of traditional Parisian architecture with its high-tech “inside-out” colour-coded exterior skeleton design courtesy of the architect triumvirate Philip Johnson, Jean Prouvé and Oscar Niemeyer.
Comprising not merely the largest museum for modern art in the old world but also an extensive public library, along with the centre for music and acoustic research, claiming that it is one of the pre-eminent European multicultural strongholds – it is designed not to merely a building but a town within a town intended to hold close to ten thousand visitor a day.
Needless to say, that the Centre Pompidou proved to be the ideal forum for one of the most expensive , thematically arranged retrospective on German painter, sculptor and pusher of boundaries Anselm Kiefer in 2016.
While Anselm Kiefer art can be found in literally any well-established metropolitan museum on this earthround, Centre Pompidou exhibited over 150 artworks and did not merely focus on graphic and painting but sculptures and large scale installations, multi-layered mazes, documenting Kiefer’s oeuvre from the late 1960s to current times. While Kiefer is one of the most prolific artists and know for working with unorthodox source materials, the DNA of his art can be simmered down to recurring and intentionally overlapping g themes, language and symbols heavily influenced by his post-war background, Germany’s history, religion, alchemy, spirituality, philosophy and literature. Kiefer’s idiosyncratic compositions allow for the expression of complex and intricate connections, making the whole of each iconographic artwork much more than the mere sum of its individual ingredients.
It would have not been Centre Pompidou if the exhibition did not entail new and specifically created art: Kiefer created forty display cases, which in essence served as portable mini-museums to pay homage to a bygone industrial era, which natural , primal objects like straw, sand, clay and ash intermingled.
To ensure that one does not get lost in the artist’s realm of symbolism, Centre Pompidou’s catalogue provides a thematic overview, which apart from displaying all exhibits from the retrospective offers accompanying essays of art luminaries as well as a diary-like part, which sheds light on Anselm Kiefer’s evolution.
A visit to Paris would not be complete without having checked out Centre Pompidou and once travel restrictions lift, it will be one of my first stops in Europe.