Discovering Kiefer

Kiefer 9
Originally uploaded by corwin1974
Last weekend we went to the Essl Museum near Vienna, to an exhibition of masterpieces of the German and Austrian painters Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Arnulf Rainer and Maria Lassnig.

I am impressed by Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, but I was overwhelmed by the works of Anselm Kiefer. I had heard of him, but I was not prepared for this deep symbolism, especially in "For Paul Celan 2005", with lines from a poem by Paul Celan, or "Sternenfall 1998" (Falling Stars). I could have stood there for hours and just get lost in the atmosphere and the details.

A short extract from Wikipedia:

Kiefer ranks among the best-known and most successful, but also most disputed German artists after World War II. In his entire body of work, Kiefer argues with the past and addresses taboo and controversial issues from recent history. Themes from Nazi rule are particularly reflected in his work; for instance, the painting "Margarethe" (oil and straw on canvas) was inspired by Paul Celan's well-known poem "Todesfuge" ("Death Fugue"). Polemical discussions in the media over the value of his artistic work have taken place for many decades.

His works are characterised by a dull/musty, nearly depressive, destructive style and are often done in large scale formats. In most of his works, the use of photography as an output surface is prevalent and earth and other raw materials of nature are often incorporated. It is also characteristic of his work to find signatures and/or names of humans, legendary figures or places particularly pregnant with history in nearly all of his paintings. All of these are encoded sigils through which Kiefer seeks to process the past; this often gets him linked with a style called "New Symbolism."


Lydia said...

Hi Francessa,
I'm so glad that you are blogging again, as I learned a lot from this latest post. Wonderful.

francessa said...

Hi lydia,

this is nice! You're lifting my spirits considerably! I'll try and blog regularly again. For the long weekend I'll be in Germany, so it might be a travel blog :-). Hope to read from you.

Lydia said...

I wish I could be in Germany for the weekend, although it isn't a long one here. You must be celebrating a holiday we don't have. I took German in junior high school and remember only bits. I looked at your page in German and it's so beautiful. I might get a CD and just for fun see what I can pick up conversationally.

I loved the Zoomcloud at your blog so late last night I initiated an account. Boy, have I ever had difficulties! The RSS/atom feed address tripped me up, as I initially used my blog address. I changed it appropriately, I think, but still get the error message. I've left a message at their helpdesk. Wish me luck.

Enjoy your beautiful weekend.

francessa said...

Hi lydia,

thanks for your wishes. The holiday is called Whitsun or Pentecost and commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.
Ow, I've neglected my German blog even more than this one. And I'd be happy to polish up your German a bit ;.)
Wish you a lucky cloud! And a nice weekend!

Lydia said...

Hi Francessa,
I'm up way too late, as it's 3:30 a.m. here! I just get lost in the blogosphere some nights and lose track of time altogether.

One of our religious TV channels had a service for the Pentecost, and I was glad you informed me about it. I hope you enjoyed your weekend in celebration.

My cloud works now. Thanks!

How do you say in German:

From your new friend, who is tired


francessa said...

Hi lydia,

back from Germany! It was rather relaxing, just walking and reading and talking and shopping, not even blogging :-). I remember my first few months in the blogosphere - verrry exiting, but verrry exhausting! Try to get some sleep sometimes :-)

Nice cloud you have.

Von deiner neuen Freundin, die sehr müde ist:-)

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