“For visual drama that will haunt your dreams there’s no-one alive to beat Anselm Kiefer. This is because, along with being a philosopher-poet, he also happens to be a craftsman of phenomenal power and versatility.”
Simon Schama, Saturday Guardian, UK 20.01.07
The monumental recent work of this extraordinary artist will be on show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales from 19 May to 29 July 2007. This is the first time the Australian public has seen Anselm Kiefer’s work in depth.
Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Southern Germany. He has lived and worked in Barjac in the south of France since 1991. Kiefer is regarded as one of the most important and influential artists working today. In 2007 he will have major one-person exhibitions at the Guggenheim, Bilbao and the Grand Palais, Paris.
The works in the exhibition were selected to represent themes currently evolving in Kiefer’s studio, in particular the Catholic liturgy for Advent and Palm Sunday. Kiefer accumulates materials and objects found on his travels and incorporates them into his installations, for example dried plants, clay vessels, mud and a mass of tangled thorns from Morocco.
The first of the works prepared for this exhibition are on the theme of Palm Sunday. They consist of multiple assemblages of palms and other plants under glass that cover an entire gallery wall almost as if they were pages of a book spread out before us, with a 12 metre palm tree laid on the gallery floor.
The second body of work is quite different in form, being a series of separate but closely related, vast, painted landscapes. These panoramic scenes are, at first sight, a return to the charred landscapes of his earlier periods and yet there is a clear link to the Palm Sunday theme with the carpet of flowers that is strewn across the foreground of each canvas, running counter to the dominant perspective.
The exhibition is in collaboration with the White Cube gallery, London. Anthony Bond, Director Curatorial at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Jay Jopling, Director of White Cube gallery, London, selected the works which were on show at the Royal Academy and White Cube gallery, London earlier this year. Tim Marlow, Director of Exhibitions, White Cube gallery, London, will be in Sydney for the opening of the exhibition.
The Sydney exhibition will feature two additional works that were acquired by the Gallery last year and on show for the first time. A film program and series of talks will accompany the exhibition, details of which are available on the Gallery’s website.