GATESHEAD.- BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
presents a major exhibition of the work of Anselm Kiefer, one of the foremost figures of European post-war painting. The exhibition includes a diverse body of work, offering a selection that spans four decades and ranges from early paintings to monumental installations. Presented over two floors of BALTICs galleries, the exhibition is Kiefers largest in the UK for many years and has been made possible by ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with the Art Fund.
Following the success of 2009, 21 museums and galleries across the UK in 2010 will be showing 25 ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions and displays from the collection created by the curator and collector, Anthony dOffay, and acquired by the nation in February 2008. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with the Art Fund has been devised to enable this collection held by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland, to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.
Anselm Kiefer at BALTIC includes painting, sculpture and installation, some of which has been rarely seen before. The starting point for Kiefers work is his fascination with myth, history, theology, philosophy and literature. For many years his painting was a vehicle to come to terms with his countrys past, and subsequently became ever concerned with religious traditions and the symbolism of different cultures. Kiefers weighty subject matters are reflected in the monumental scale of many of his works, while his keen exploration and visceral layering of materials such as lead, ash, rope and human hair bring an emotional potency.
Among the paintings to be included in the exhibition are three works from the artists early Parsifal series (1973), drawn from Richard Wagners last opera and its 13th century source, a romance by Wolfram von Eschenbach based upon the legend of the Holy Grail. With Palette 1981, Kiefer revealed the problematic legacy inherited by artists in post-war Germany: the artists palette hangs from a single burning thread evoking shame, loss and the apparent impossibility of artistic creation. The expansive Man under a Pyramid 1996, which measures more than five meters long, continues the artists interest in meditation and the linking of body and mind.
Also included is Palmsonntag 2006 which comprises a vast sequence of 36 paintings arranged around a full-size palm tree. While avoiding explicit religious statement, the work draws upon the Christian narrative of Palm Sunday to explore death and resurrection, decay, re-creation and rejuvenation; human themes that are central to Kiefers practice and that will be identified throughout this presentation.