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Anselm Kiefer (Anselm Kiefer, March 8, 1945, Donaueschingen, Germany) – German painter, sculptor, photographer. The main themes of his works – the history and mythology of Germany, its national identity, and the legends of Scandinavia; it is a humanist Kiefer matches with the tragedy of the Holocaust and the murderous persistence of the ideas of Nazism.

Features of works by Anselm Kiefer:A great influence on Kiefer had his compatriots Joseph Beuys and Georg Baselitz. The artist known for his large-scale paintings and installations, which traced trends abstract expressionismfrom minimalism, abstraction and symbolism to the stunning diversity of materials and their own techniques of implementation of the planned works.

Famous works of Anselm Kiefer: "Heroes of the German spirit", "Varus", "Falling stars", "Palm Sunday".

The ashes of the Second world: the birth

Early in the spring of 1945 during the last months of the Second world war, defeated Nazi Germany was born Anselm Kiefer. On the very day of his birth, March 8, the house of the family was destroyed but everyone survived because I was in the hospital. The boy from the family of a teacher of painting saved yourself and family the very fact of his birth. The arid landscape of the war-ravaged country, the stones of the ruins and broken glass, dried plants and straw, rusty frames and dead trees deeply imprinted in the minds of Kiefer for life and became his first sculptures. Revival from obscurity, using parts of the old building that new, beauty, hidden inside the decay products – that's what grew among German children in a country that lost the war. Here are the topics that have become Central to the work of Kiefer. And many years later, Kiefer said: "For someone ruins the end, but if there are ruins, you can always start over".

Youth: teacher of mysticism

After the birth of her son family of Kythira in search of a safe life moved from the City to a small town amnestied at the loose. In 20 years, Anselm finished schooling in Rastatt and in 1965 entered the University of Freiburg, making the choice in favor of studying law and romance. It lasts for exactly a year, after which Kiefer translated into the faculty of arts, where his teacher is Peter Dreher – by that time already well-known painter and graphic artist, leading a drawing class at the State Academy of fine arts. Later, in Karlsruhe, he has been in the class of Horst Antes is a young but already famous artist-constructivist. After exams in 1969, Kiefer went on to study with Joseph Beuys. The latter was not only one of the most prominent theorists of postmodernism: Boyce was a big fan of clairvoyant and occultist, the founder of anthroposophy and scholar of the works of Goethe by Rudolf Steiner. In her installations and performances (Boyce – an active participant of the movement "FLUXUS"), the artist used such unusual materials as honey, melted fat and felt.

Love Beuys to create a certain atmosphere and fantastic facilities adorning his workshops, Kiefer not only adopted, but brought to a new level. Industrial buildings, abandoned and partially destroyed, - in a word, the ruins – are the cradles in which are born new works by Kiefer throughout his career.

Nazism immortal? A Series Of "Occupation"

1969-the year was marked by a series of photographs of Kiefer "Occupation", inspired by the ideas Beuys: the photographs Kiefer was captured "ziguyuschim" in the background of landscapes of France, Switzerland and Italy. Your scandalous self-portraits he interpreted as a debate between the peaceful present and the Nazi past of their country – wide public debate caused by rendering the Nazi salute in Germany, which has tried to distance itself from the shameful defeat was the Kiefer uneasy. Later, the artist turned eight photographs "occupations" in the series of paintings "Heroic character". Says London-based art historian Norman Rosenthal, in his art, Kiefer "a Grand idea by combining all the terrible and wonderful that there were in his country".

The German period: Hornbach

While Joseph Beuys creates his undergraduate political force, the main requirement of which was self-government and free admission to the Academy of düsseldorf for all who wanted it, Kiefer is going on in his artistic career and moved to the town of Hornbach. Here he has chosen the former brick factory that was turned into a Studio, where he worked for twenty years. In 1971 the German period in the work of Kiefer, his fascination with the cycle of operas by Richard Wagner "Ring des Nibelungen". Around the same time in his paintings there are inscriptions - the names of people, names of historical places or events, to this day remaining one of the "branded" techniques of the artist. These coded signals, personal kiperousa the tablets, which the artist seeks to connect the past and the present.

Sweeping aside all the old, including memories of "degenerate art," in a resurgent Europe, a new wave of fashion for expressionism, impulsive self-expression of artists. Against this background formed a new for – New Wild (Neue Wilde), which came into Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke. These are very expensive now – German artists were supported by their fellow Italians Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cookie, and many others. The first significant exhibition of New Wild was the exhibition "a New spirit in painting", held in 1981 in London, where the participants exhibited their works along with works Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and David Hockney. To this period belongs one of the most controversial works of Kiefer called "Interior"(1981) – he portrayed reichkanzler Hitler after the fire. The Holocaust reveals the canvas "Margarita"(1981), an allegorical depiction of a German woman with flaming braids – the picture is inspired by a poem of Paul Celan's "Fugue of death" (1947, excerpt below translated by Olga Sedakova).

Black milk of dawn we drink you at night
we drink you at midday Death is a German teacher
we drink you in the evening and in the morning drink
Death is a German teacher's eye he has blue

he targets the lead bullet you will not miss it target perfectly
he has released his hounds he gives us a grave in the air space
he plays with the snakes and thinks the Death is a German teacher

your Golden hair Margaret
your ash Shulamith.

Another "Shulamith"(1983): a symbol of the Jewish women, where the hair turned to ash. "Art is difficult. It's not fun"- says Kiefer.

A leaden weight of history: the new material in the works of Kiefer

Continuing the search for new materials for sculptural works in 1985, the artist became lead sheets from the roof of the Cologne Cathedral – in fact, historical relics, covering the majestic Church, which was built several centuries. Kiefer, his work has transformed these leaves into the pages of the books – a truly alchemical transformation of lead into gold contemporary art. The artist believes that "the only material heavy enough to withstand the weight of human history".One of the most famous songs which kept the spirit of the Cologne Cathedral - "High Priestess / Mesopotamia"(1985-1989). Two shelves marked as Tigris and Euphrates, which are placed about two hundred books from the lead tablets, sealed in eternity heavy metal - produce painful and at the same time a profound impression. But there is in sculpture and hope that the knowledge accumulated by humanity, will not give him the abyss in the crucible of wars and passions.

Since 1985, Anselm Kiefer comes back to the critique of Nazism, a peculiar analysis of the role of Germany in the General context of the development of human civilization. "My biography is the biography of Germany"says Keefer. The topics on which the artist works, originate in the occult movement and mystical practice that he loved to exploit the Nazis. But it all depends on point of view. The tragedy of the Holocaust and then heard in the works of Kiefer notes pain notes the tragedy.

Care of the family and time travel. Barjac

Leaving in 1991, his Studio in Hornbach, and along with his wife and children, Kiefer leaving Germany. There will be freedom and exotic destinations: the artist travels to India, Mexico, visited Japan. Filled with the impressions, he returned to Europe and decides to "drop anchor" in France. Here, in the commune of Barjac, found an abandoned factory for the production of silk which has become a new creative residence Kiefer.

Kiefer's works are always characterized by an unwavering willingness to confront the dark past of the culture of his homeland, its unrealized potential. Sculptures, paintings, installations are often performed in a large, confrontational scale, which is also a means of expressing feelings and thoughts of the artist. Among these, monumental art objects – the famous "Seven heavenly palaces"(2004), created for the gallery opening of "Hangar Bicocca" on the outskirts of Milan, owned by the world famous company Pirelli. Created from reinforced concrete and cargo containers similar to old garages, the Palace ruins have names borrowed by the artist from the Hebrew treatise "the Book of the heavenly palaces" (Sefer Hechloth). The weight of each of the "ruins" of about 90 tons and a height from 14 to 18 meters.

His series of paintings devoted to the poets, not less monumental. Their heroes – Paul Celan, the German poet-surrealist, author of the famous poem "Fugue of death" about the fate of Polish prisoners of concentration camps, and Velimir Khlebnikov – the father of Russian futurism, the inventor of the language of the future "nonsense". One of the main themes a series of works dedicated to Khlebnikovthe theory of the poet that devastating sea battles influenced the course of history time in 317 years. Kiefer interpreterpath this futuristic discovery Khlebnikov on huge canvases: his submarines and ships seem to only came from the battle, carrying the traces of the hits of the enemy. Rust and the technique of the palimpsest, dull, but at the same time, saturated colors of the paintings are complemented by mud and clay – another "brand" of the artist's reception.

New Studio: an abandoned Department store and former NPP

110 trucks – so many vehicles it took to Anselm Kiefer to move his Studio from Barjac in the suburbs of Paris. In 2008, his new creative space again became an industrial building – a former Department store La Samaritaine on the track Péripherique. Lead has become a "stumbling block" for local residents, eager for non-ferrous metals: in 2008, just before the move, from the Studio in Barjac stole 7.5 tonnes of lead, which was soon found at the local scrap metal yard. And in 2016, the unknown stole a sculpture similar to the tower mentioned "the high priestess / Mesopotamia", from the yard of the Studio in Croisy-Beaubourg: 10 tons lead and 12 tons of marble sank in the night.

In 2011, Kiefer becomes the owner of yet another neglected area: this time he liked the former nuclear power station mülheim-Kärlich in the West of Germany on the territory of which he placed not only the Studio, but also art objects. The artist was very persistent in his desire to purchase a complex nuclear power plant and after numerous letters and appeals, the head of power company RWE Jurgen Grossman was forced to concede.

A happy marriage

The second marriage of Anselm Kiefer has been successful: his life companion was Austrian Renate Graf, the famous photographer, which shares the attitude of her husband to the ruins and she is not averse to capture the wilderness that speak of loneliness. Renata likes to sign his work right on top of the image was a photograph was the song. A family with two children and lives in Paris, and to create new works Kiefer chooses one of the two studios in the suburbs of the French capital or goes to Germany. In the end, the Studio not only the birthplace of new masterpieces, but also good investments in real estate.

Anselm Kiefer at the Louvre in the movie

Anselm was the only one of our contemporaries, whose works entered the permanent collection of the Louvre during the artist's life, in 2007. Kiefer creates and inspires others: 2014 released film "Noah" directed by Darren Aronofsky - visual solutions in the film was created under the impression from the works of Anselm Kiefer. And the fate of the protagonist – Nov – resonates with the core creative topics Kiefer: according to Aronofsky, Noah is a "dark, complicated character" who after the flood are faced with a sense of "survivor's guilt".

Author: Rita Lozinskaya
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