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Anselm Kiefer Installation an International Coup for the Art Gallery of Ontario
Anselm Kiefer, Palmsonntag, 2007, 44 panels of mixed media on board, fiberglass and resin palm tree, clay bricks and steel support, dimensions variable. ©2010 Anselm Kiefer. Courtesy of the Gagosian Gallery. Photograph © Joshua White.

TORONTO.- Acclaimed international artist Anselm Kiefer’s monumental installation Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario this March. Kiefer, known for his epic themes and operatic flair, will be adapting and adding to the installation for its Canadian premiere at the AGO, opening March 4 and continuing through August 1.

Palmsonntag is composed of a 60-foot-long palm tree, cast in fiberglass and resin, that lies on its side across the Gallery floor, surrounded by a cycle of 44 massive panels hanging in rows on the walls above. The panels, eight of which Kiefer is creating specifically for the AGO exhibition, combine paint, plaster, mud, wood, human hair, dried plant materials and rusted chastity belts, among other materials — forming a massive collage of images at once unnerving and expansive.

Palmsonntag blends religious symbols, ancient text scrawled in multiple languages, and images of fossilized decay in a work that deals with life, death and rebirth in equal measure, says AGO Curator of Contemporary Art David Moos. “Palmsonntag is an installation of profound impact,” says Moos. “It must be seen, felt, and encountered. Its historical reach and epic vision are signatures of one of today’s most important living artists.”

“Anselm Kiefer is a major artist, an innovator and a visionary,” says AGO Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum. “The AGO is proud to be a key destination for major international artists like Kiefer; Palmsonntag is an ideal addition to our spring season of contemporary art on the leading edge.”

Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945. His works, often enormous in scale, are thematically rich with historical, spiritual and political allusions. His paintings and sculptures are in the collections of virtually every major museum of contemporary art in the world, including the MOMA, the Tate and the Louvre.

Anselm Kiefer: Palmsonntag will be installed in the AGO’s fifth-floor galleries, which will be closed for the month of February to prepare the space for the work. Earlier versions of Palmsonntag have been shown at the Grand Palais in Paris and at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles.

Anselm Kiefer: Palmsonntag opens in conjunction with the contemporary sculpture exhibition Sculpture as Time: Major Works. New Acquisitions. — also opening March 4. The rest of the AGO’s winter exhibition season focuses on new and established masters of contemporary art, and includes the exhibitions Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization?, Rembrandt / Freud: Etchings from Life and Françoise Sullivan: Inner Force – Winner of the 2008 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO. Additionally, King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs continues until April 18.

Art Gallery of Ontario | Anselm Kiefer | David Moos |

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