Anselm Kiefer is one of the most important post-war European artists. Born in Germany in 1945, he now lives and works in France, His work encompasses themes of environment, memory as well as myth, history, literature and identity. This exhibition is a remarkable opportunity to see this major artist, featuring works from the ARTIST ROOMS collection spanning the past 40 years of Kiefer’s career. Kiefer’s works often address the legacy and identity of Germany and individuals after World War II. The artists use of natural materials such as lead, rope, ash and sand, bring an emotional and sculptural element to his paintings and photographs.
The exhibition at Tullie House, in Cumbria, features breathtaking works spanning the past 40 years of the artist’s career, and is a rare opportunity to see this collection outside of London. Highlights of the exhibition include Urd, Verdandi, Skuld (The Norns) pictured above, a monumental mixed media piece standing at over 4 metres tall. The name references the Norse mythological ‘fates’ or Norns, thought to represent Past, Present and Future, drawing on the recurring themes of myth and history in Kiefer’s work.
Many of Kiefer’s works addresses individuals after World War II, and this exhibition features a selection of photographs from the controversial Heroic Symbols (Heroische Sinnbilder) series of the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these images Kiefer expresses his belief that one must confront rather than suppress the experiences of history by re-enacting the Nazi salute in locations across Europe.
The exhibition at Tullie House will also feature Palette, a large mixed media piece which depicts a traditional artist’s palette suspended by two burning ropes. The artist’s use of natural materials such as lead, rope, ash and sand, bring an emotional and sculptural element to his paintings and photographs. The palette is a recurring motif in Kiefer’s work and he has said of its use: “The use of the palette represents the idea of the artist connecting heaven and earth. He works here but he looks up there. He is always moving between the two realms.” (Michael Auping, Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth, exhibition catalogue, Museum of Modern Art Fort Worth 2005, p.171).
The works on display are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its seventh year, is showing at 17 museums and galleries across the UK in 2015. The tour is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and through the continued support of the Art Fund.
Hilary Wade, Director of Tullie House – “Anselm Kiefer, described as ‘a colossus of contemporary art’, is one of the most important artists of our time. It is a privilege to be showing his work here in Carlisle through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay and the ARTIST ROOMS initiative and with the support of Arts Council England and the Art Fund. The exhibition at Tullie House spans the past 40 years of the artist’s career and is a wonderful opportunity to see works from private collections rarely seen in public”.
Anselm Kiefer 7 February – 7 June 2015 ARTIST ROOMS Tullie House, Cumbria