Anselm Kiefer, ‘Ritt an die Weichsel’, 1980, Centre Pompidou

The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Image rights: Photo © 2015. Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence

"Anselm Kiefer"

Venue: Centre Pompidou, Paris (2015 - 2016)

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Werner and Elaine Dannheisser, 1996

About Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer critically engages with myth and memory, referencing totems of German culture and collective history. “Germans want to forget [the past] and start a new thing all the time, but only by going into the past can you go into the future,” he says. Revealing the influence of his tutelage under Joseph Beuys, Kiefer's epic-scaled, dense sculptures and paintings are often exposed to elements like acid and fire, and incorporate materials such as lead, burned books, concrete, thorny branches, ashes, and clothing; famed critic and historian Simon Schama has described his work as “heavy-load maximalism.” Kiefer’s vast-ranging references have included the Black Forest, Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, and Caspar David Friedrich’s Romantic landscapes, as well as Kabbalah mysticism, Cold War politics, National Socialist architecture, and Paul Celan’s seminal body of post-Holocaust poetry. “Art is difficult,” he says. “It’s not entertainment.”

German, b. 1945, Donauschingen, Germany, based in France