Overview

The mid-1990s marks a shift in Anselm Kiefer HRSA work; extensive travels throughout India, Asia, America and Africa inspired interest in the exchange of thought between the Eastern and Western worlds. Structures resembling ancient Mesopotamian architecture enter the work, as well as self-portraits that show yogic poses. Glimmers of the landscape of the south of France appear, evidenced by depictions of constellations or the inclusion of plants and sunflower seeds.  Kiefer also infuses his work with allusions to French history and literature, such as in his series Les Femmes de la Révolution.

 

An avid reader, Kiefer’s works are layered with literary and poetic references. These associations are not necessarily fixed nor literal, but rather overlap into an interwoven fabric of signification.

 

From documenting his Occupations performance in the late 1960s to composing artist’s books using his own images, another constant throughout Kiefer’s work has been photography. The artist often transforms the photograph itself by painting on top of it, dipping it in a bath of electrolysis, or by layering silver gelatin emulsion and gold leaf.

 

Beyond making paintings, sculptures, artist’s books and photographs, Anselm Kiefer has intervened in various sites. After converting a former brick factory in Höpfingen, Germany into a studio, he created installations and sculptures that became part of the site itself. A few years after his move to Barjac, France, Kiefer again transformed the property around his studio by excavating the earth to create a network of underground tunnels and crypts that connect to numerous art installations. This studio-site is now a part of the Eschaton-Anselm Kiefer Foundation, which will open to the public in the early summer of 2022.

Biography

Born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany, Anselm Kiefer HRSA studied law and romance languages at the University of Freiburg before pursuing studies in fine art at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künst in Karlsruhe. Early works engaged with the memory of WWII as a means of breaking the silence over the recent past. Through parodying the Nazi salute along with visually citing National Socialist architecture and Germanic heroic legends, Kiefer explored his identity, culture, and history.

 

From 1968 and up until his move to France in 1992, Kiefer worked in several studios in Germany. Throughout this time, he started incorporating that which has become emblematic of his work–materials and techniques such as lead, straw, plants, and woodcuts–and themes including Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the poetry of Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, Goethe’s Faust, Velimir Khlebnikov’s futuristic theories, as well as Biblical connotations and Jewish mysticism.

 

Anselm Kiefer currently works and lives outside of Paris.