Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945 and has lived and worked in France since 1993. He has exhibited widely, including solo shows at MoMA, New York (1987); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1991); The Metropolitan Museum, New York (1998); Fort Worth Museum of Art (2005); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006); Mass MoCA, Massachusetts; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; the Grand Palais, Paris; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2010); the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2011), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2011) and The Royal Academy, London (2014).
In 2007 Kiefer became the first artist to be commissioned to install a permanent work at the Louvre, Paris since Georges Braque some 50 years earlier. In 2009 he created an opera, Am Anfang, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Opéra National de Paris. The Centre Georges Pompidou and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris staged major solo presentations of his work in 2015.
His work 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 German poetry by Celan, Rilke and others. “Art is difficult,” he says. “It’s not entertainment.”
Exhibitions and Distinctions (Selection)
Paintings, Sculpture & Intallations, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami L‘alchimie du Livre, Nationale Bibliotheque, Paris, France.
Anselm Kiefer, Royal Academy of Art, London St. John’s Eve, Mönchehaus Museum Goslar, Goslar, Germany
Walther von der Vogelweide für Lia, Galeria Lia Rumma, Naples Beyond Landscape, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York Sculpture and Paintings from the Hall Collection, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts Un Maestro de la Pintura, Museum of Contemporary Art, Gas Natural Fenosa, A Coruña
Joseph Beuys and Anselm Kiefer: Drawings, Gouaches, Books, MKM Küppersmühle Museum of Modern Art, Duisburg Am Anfang, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn Works from the Essl Collection’, Essl Museum, Vienna
Anselm Kiefer: Shevirat Ha-Kelim, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
Ausgewahlte Arbeiten aus der Sammluing Grothe, Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden Salt of the Earth, Fondazione Vedova, Venice Kiefer & Rembrandt, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Anselm Kiefer—Maria durch ein Dornwald ging, ed. by Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, 2009
Anselm Kiefer—Bücher, ed. by Heiner Bastian, Munich, 2008
Anselm Kiefer—Wege der Weltweisheit/ Die Frauen der Revolution, ed. by Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen, 2007
Anselm Kiefer, ed. by Kunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch Hall, 2004
Anselm Kiefer, Daniel Arasse, London, 2001
Anselm Kiefer—Bücher 1969-90, ed. by Götz Adriani, Stuttgart, 1990