The Centre Pompidou stages a retrospective journey through the career of the celebrated German artist Anselm Kiefer.
The exhibition consists in over 150 works, and features an extensive selection of paintings, graphic works, sculptures and installations. Spanning from 1968 to current times, Anselm Kiefer‘s body of work is extremely wide, yet consistent as if its stylistic and conceptual core was clear from the very beginning. Recurring thematics and symbolic elements shape Kiefer‘s prolific artistic production from the early watercolors to the latest installations. For the past 30 years, his work has been developing in a process of accumulation, mingling and reworking of motifs and constellations through a language of materials and textures that involves different media and working techniques. Alchemy, religion, literature, philosophy, history and myths overlap repeatedly in every piece on display, expressing complex and intricate connections. Besides Kiefer‘s classic iconography, the retrospective highlights unexpected elements in the artist’s works such as feminine sensuality, which appears as carnal passion in the early production and evolves into spiritual strenght throughout the years. In addition, the exhibition features 40 display cases produced specifically for the show. Presented uder glass, these environments act like portable museums inside the museum, and address the fragmented world of a past industrial age – old machinery, and rusty metal parts, photographs, filmstrips and other objects. In this context, nature is always present in Kiefer‘s choice of primal materials such as sand, straw, ash and clay, as well as in the artworks’ motifs.
Unprecedented in terms of scope and selection, the retrospective at Centre Pompidou showcases the complexity of Anselm Kiefer‘s art, reminiscent of a multiple maze made of layered themes with countless meanings, subtle connections and interpretations. Kiefer is at once Dedalus, the builder of the labyrinth, and Icarus, the one who wants to escape from labyrinth, seeking for freedom in the world outside the artwork. The spectator is Theseus, the wanderer, who walks the labyrinth and tries to make sense out of it, eventually getting lost in the artist’s realm of symbolism.