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ANSELM KIEFER - Shooting stars Bologna, Galleria d'Arte Moderna,
until August 29th 1999
Guido Faggion
ISSN 1127-4883     BTA - Telematic Bulletin of Art, May 9th 1999, n. 182

The Modern Art Gallery of Bologna presents, until the 29th of August, the exhibition Shooting stars concerning masterpieces of the artist Anselm Kiefer, curate by Danilo Eccher. Kiefer's works of art have been contextualized into the rooms of the important museum by the artist himself, who has tried to give them a different perception and a different sense, in relationship of a symbiosis that it's necessary between space and works of art, not only to emphasise them, but even to present a qualified and meaningful exhibition.

Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donauschingen, in the south of Germany, into the heart of the Black Forest. Before entering into the art circuit and art world, he studied language, Romance literature, law and attended the Art Academy of Karlsruhe. Later at the Art Academy of Düsseldorf, he becomes a Joseph Beuys pupil. Since 1992he lives and works in Barjec, in Provence.

Since the beginning, there has been in Kiefer the precise awareness of the need for an affirmation of "Being-there" as an artist. That need, with the consequent recognition of the transcendent function of art, implies the assumption of a profound sense of sacrifice which, on the one hand, is translated into a secret intimacy and, on the other, into a redemption which leads to a total communion with the Universe.

Art for Kiefer cannot escape from its own past or its own present, and it doesn't have the aim objective of salvation nor it sanctifies anything, but it absorbs that role of knowledge through which reality is discovered. The dimension of sacrifice, represent for Kiefer, an important pivotal point: art is therefore located between earth and heaven, known and unknown as a "stair-way" or bridge, where art collects everything, absorbs everything, it gives everything a vision without expectation because art represents reality. Kiefer knows that the sanctity of art is in its transcendence, in absence of judgement, in the loss of affirmation and negation, in the knowledge of being. Art is a performance, it modulates, it transforms, it's the doctrine that enables the detachment through which is possible to accept reality and history. For this value of Kiefer's art and research, international criticism and public opinion, have been divided since the beginning in considering the artist as a debated and discussed personality: because of his references to the German history and to the Wagnerian mythology, to Nietsche and to Nazi iconography, Kiefer has been considered an artist that is critic of the past, or, on the other hand, that could reinvigorate it. But it seems reductive celebrate so important an artist that can represent in his works, a spiritual and a total dimension together with a human dimension. Comparison seems to be the cultural expression preferred by Kiefer; in his works man and nature, art and history, myth and legend, microcosms and macrocosms live together.

In the works of art exhibited in Bologna, more than thirty and all made during the last two years, one can find the elements and symbols that represent Kiefer's work and research: the landscapes, the sunflowers, the lead sculptures and books. They represent, maybe, the top of the continuous dialogue between heaven and earth, the natural and the supernatural and the spiritual, with evident hint to esoterism and alchemy. In Bologna, is possible to explore a new Kiefer, instead of older works a Kiefer who neglects the worrying references to the past and history, is closer to a new dimension, which is more spiritual and total, leaving off the examination of the problems of the German nation. A new dimension, rich of poetry and emotion, has wrapped the artist ! His search develops through language corruption, into a way to put together different expressive elements, such as photography, that, freed of documentary and representative function, has a new meaning, leading to a new reality, different from the original. The photograph is attacked by acids, covered by sand, wrapped in a leaf of lead, denied by details, violated or protected in order to underline a transcendence of art. In many works you can find associated elements of different kinds, that reflect a sense that makes of the work a complex synthesis of symbols and subjects. Lead seems the preferred element used by the artist because it has various symbolic meaning: extremely heavy but malleable too, it protects from radiations but, at the same time, poisonous, traditionally considered as an alchemical and exhoteric element. It is the main element of the works Horus (1998) and Nachtshatten - night shade - (1998), two enormous shelved with enormous books, in lead too, that seems fixed and "frozen" into a drying process which preserves an impossible revelation, archaic witnesses of knowledge.

For the artist, the "written-world" and the graphic sign have a surprising energetic charge: in the works , in the title's works, but even on the museum walls. They are nor simply quotations, intriguing titles or refined literature images, they are "written-world" and signs that play the exact text sound and turn the world into image. These "written-world" go beyond the text and narrative sense and become almost alchemic formulas; they suggest interpretation at the moment in which they are read, pronounced, played, they affirm and generate the doubt and wrap the work to complete them. The poetry expressed by Kiefer in his works, seems to admire and embrace lost and unknown worlds, situation which are not part of the material word, but of that unmaterial world which is the inner and spiritual part of the human race.

The sunflower, is therefore, the element that represents the present Kiefer's research: used as a flower or with its seeds, dispersing themselves as a constellation into chaotic vortices which play a precise performing role in the artistic narration and, as a consequence, in the definition of reality. Magic and mysterious flower, poetical genius of wide horizons, of a different space and chromatic dimension, in which the pictorial surface seems to be pressed and swelled.

The nights works dedicated to stars, with the list of their names or the schematically presentation of the constellation, maybe to present visionary animals, confirm the attitude of Art to transfer an "other" kind of. In Sternenfall - shooting stars - (1998), a big paint in which the sky is represented with the application of numerous sunflower seeds, the stars, deprived of light, have been hidden by an unreadable series of number almost to catalogue them. These stars, fallen and abandoned on the earth, are sacrificed.

Striking work of mixed thecnique in Von der verlorenen Gerüht die der Glaube nicht' trug erwachen die Trommeln im Fluss - affected by the loss that the faith don't debate, drums into the river wakes up - (1998) where earth, sand, bricks, acrylic, emulsion, gum and metal fixed by two support with dresses, make this work represent a gigantic and mysterious wall as to mean that nothing, made by human hand, can be preserved. On the other hand, the books, such as in The secret life of the plants (1997) or in 20 Jahre Einsamkeit - twenty years of solitude - (1998) or in Naglfar (1998), weighed down in their role, ordered with age-old elegance and stretched out to preserve an impossible revelation, are archaic testimony to a power now "evaporated", mysterious relics of a ritual reading which allows themselves to be violated in no apparent order by a messy growth of grass and flowers which distort the pages, breaking up ancient scholarly illustration of plants in order to show their tragic face and reality.


Galleria d'Arte Moderna
Piazza Costituzione, 3 - BOLOGNA
ANSELM KIEFER - Shooting stars - curate by Danilo Eccher
From the 27th of March until the 29th of August 1999
Catalogue edited by Allemandi (Italian and English)
Telephone 051.502859 Fax 051.371032
Opening timetable: all days 10-18, Monday closed
Tickets: full price 8.000; reduced price 4.000

Anselm 	Kiefer, 20 Jahre Einsamkeit, 1998 fig. 1
Anselm Kiefer, 20 Jahre Einsamkeit, 1998
Courtesy Galleria d'Arte Moderna,
Bologna & Umberto Allemandi Editore, Torino

Courtesy Galleria d'Arte Moderna,
Bologna & Umberto Allemandi Editore, Torino


Anselm 	Kiefer, Naglfar, 1998 fig. 2
Anselm Kiefer, Naglfar, 1998

Courtesy Galleria d'Arte Moderna,
Bologna & Umberto Allemandi Editore, Torino



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