A way to share and manage lots.
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Bilbao, Guggenheim, Anselm Kiefer, 28 March-9 September 2007 (exhibited)
Anselm Kiefer, exh. cat., Guggenheim, Bilbao, 2007, pl. 138 (illustrated)
Anselm Kiefer’s extensive portfolio of works brings to the fore his inherent ability to integrate a vast array of mediums and subject matters to create a diverse and ever-evolving range of paintings, sculptures and installations which have consequently secured his place as one of the most significant European artists of the past forty years.
Mythology, history, alchemy, nature, pagan allusions and modern cultural references are just some of the facets that arise in Kiefer’s oeuvre. Paete non Dolet from 2007 bridges some of these themes through the merger of antique references with materials more typical of machine manufacture or industrial techniques. This large sculpture was born out of Kiefer’s experimentations in his Barjac studio and as such, draws on symbols most akin to this intriguing setting. Kiefer has frequently described his studios as laboratories, not dissimilar to refineries or mines and the latter reference certainly brings to mind his Barjac works most profoundly. The rugged texture of the tangled barbed-wire mass that gives shape to the top half of Paete non Dolet seems earthy and organic like the metal from which it is formed. Simultaneously, the draped female body beneath, harks back to excavated Greek caryatids – their flowing white dresses now mirrored in this plaster cast rather than marble. Through the amalgamation of man-made and raw materials, Kiefer has created works that appear timeless or, more specifically, works that cannot be placed within a definite time. Paete non Dolet harks back to an antique style but at the same time transcends its boundaries by merging contemporary methods and abstract assimilations with the ancient. The sinuously curving mesh included in this work signals a departure from the figurative and disrupts the viewer’s initial connotations of a more legible subject matter. Though perhaps emblematic of a Medusa-like head, its disproportionately large scale and surreal nature define it as a bewildering addition to the sculpture. In fact, Kiefer has returned to the female form frequently in his sculpted works – often omitting the head entirely or replacing it with an altogether disparate object like an open book.
Thus, it is the ambiguous and abstract qualities offered by Kiefer’s works that make them so compelling and consequently, firmly situates them within the trajectory of contemporary conceptualism, never failing to intrigue viewers and collectors alike.
London 14 October 2015 7pm