Anselm Kiefer reflects on German history & Philosophy

From: 16-12-2015     To: 18-04-2016

Anselm Kiefer. © Anselm Kiefer/Photo: Renate Graf.

Paris is playing double host to the German artist Anselm Kiefer this winter. While an exhibition of more than 100 of his books, made of typically diverse materials like clay, sand and lead, is currently on view at Bibliothèque Nationale de France, a retrospective of his work opens at the Centre Pompidou this month. The show is due to include nearly 150 works from the 1960s to today, as well as a group of new commissions.

German history and the relationship between destruction and creation have been central issues in Kiefer’s work (he was born two months before the end of the Second World War) and this show presents his work thematically, rather than chronologically. Key works such as Resurrexit (1973), Margarethe (1981) and Für Paul Celan: Aschenblumen (2006) will be treated as turning points in his development.

New commissions include 40 vitrines based on ideas of alchemy and the Jewish philosophical system of the Kabbalah, which have recently become of concern to the artist.

The show, which covers 2,000 sq. m, is anchored by a monumental installation made of sheet metal and lead, which will be in the museum’s reception area. The structure will house the artist’s photographic works and act as a “biographical databank” for the show, according to the museum. “This is the exhibition of my life because these are photos that I’ve taken throughout my life—thousands of pictures,” Kiefer says in a statement.

Anselm Kiefer, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 16 December-18 April 2016
• Anselm Kiefer: the Alchemy of Books, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, until 7 February 2016