Anselm Kiefer in Paris

I’ve always been deeply affected by Anselm Kiefer’s vast, overwrought paintings that meditate on modern (and mythic) German history; thus I was pleased to see Alan Riding’s article on Kiefer’s newest installation in today’s New York Times. Born in Germany during World War II, Kiefer now lives in Paris; “Falling Stars” opens today in the recently restored Grand Palais. With this and subsequent exhibitions, the French government hopes to incite greater interest in contemporary art. Alan Riding notes how Kiefer looks to literature for reference and for imagery: “…Mr. Kiefer fills the space with the visual and intellectual force of his art, much of it inspired by literature, notably the poetry of the Romanian Paul Celan and the Austrian Ingeborg Bachmann, the Bible and cabalistic writings. Mr. Kiefer himself has often noted that in his youth he wavered between becoming a writer and a painter.”

The installation is made up of “houses” that encompass paintings in oil and sculptures composed variously of terra cotta, concrete, pieces of cloth, palm fronds, and sheets of lead. Kiefer says of “Falling Stars: “What interests me is the transformation, not the monument. I don’t construct ruins, but I feel ruins are moments when things show themselves. A ruin is not a catastrophe. It is the moment when things can start again.” To see and read more about Kiefer’s  work, visit  http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/kiefer/ or http://www.sfmoma.org/exhibitions/exhib_detail.asp?id=234
–Maureen Bloomfield

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