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Abstract artist:  the painter and sculptor

Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany 1945-

the year World War II finally ended.

He was raised in a war- torn, war – ravaged country,

surrounded by rumble, debris, chaos and destruction:

remnants of the aftermath of war.

On his childhood, he once said in interview:

“I would build little houses with bricks from bombed buildings.”



(image from zimbio.com):

anselm kiefer, photo

Anselm Kiefer

This environment of ruin, left an indelible mark

which would later translate into the language of his art work.


(images from saatchigallery.com):

anselm kiefer, maikafer flieg

Maikafer flieg, 1974

anselm kiefer, painting, wolundlied, 1982

 Wolundlied, 1982

(image from grandpalais-fr):

anselm kiefer, installation grand palais paris, 2007


Installation art at the Grand Palais (Paris), 2007

(image from guggenheim-bilboa.es):

anselm kiefer, sunflowers, 1996

Sunflowers, 1996

Kiefer’s creations seek to interpret his perception of

of history, mythology and poetry as modifiers

of the human experience.

His body of work addresses the personal:

the destroyed physical surroundings of his childhood town

and the collective:  the sum of a culture seemingly consigned

to definition by a single, evil element-

Nazi usurpation of the German identity.

Elements of Kiefer’s art seek to reclaim the German artistic output

from Nazi association.


(image from tate.org):

anselm kiefer, man under a pyramid, 1999

Man Under a Pyramid, 1999

(image from royalacademy.org):

anselm kiefer, painting, order of the night, 1996

Order of the Night, 1996

Executed on a grand scale in attitude and actual proportions, his pieces

be it painting, sculpture, installation are emotive, psychological, arresting,

disturbing and dark.   He uses a variety of materials:  sand, straw, lead,

boulders, newspapers, photographers, photo reels, books, paper

and whatever else is at hand.

This appears poignantly reminiscent of the boy Anselm,

who built “little houses” from salvaged bits of wreckage.


(images from royalacademy.org):

anselm kiefer, painiting, interior, 1981

Interior, 1981

anselm kiefer, painting, nothung, 1973

Nothung, 1973

Kiefer finds inspiration not only from his personal childhood recollections

and grievous moments of German history, but also he is influenced by

a profound interest in the cosmos and humankind’s place in it.

The writings of his favourite poets too find expression in his art.

His thick application of paint to canvas is akin to Impressionists artists,

in particular Vincent Van Gogh, whom Kiefer greatly admired.

(image from royalacademy.org):

anselm kiefer, black flakes, 2006

Black Flakes, 2006

Though Kiefer’s art seems at first glance an assortment of

the dark and gloomy and more of the same,

there is a sense of a sentiment of rebirth.

There is this architectural element to his pieces;

a layering, a building, a stacking.

There is a feeling that from destruction there is construction:

that there exists a possibility of new beginnings,

that there is always a glimmer of hope,

however faint.

anselm kiefer, sprache der vogel, entrance to exhibit, RAA 2014

Sprache der Vogel

Located in the foyer of the exhibition space

Royal Academy of Arts, 2014

anselm kiefer, installart art, RAA 2014

Ages of the World

Installation art, Royal Academy of Art, 2014

The Royal Academy of Art presents

Anselm Kiefer

until 14 December 2014


The exhibition boasts two works of

installation, created in situ by the artist.