Five years after Anselm Kiefer’s exhibition for the inauguration of our gallery space in Pantin and following his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2016, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac presents an exhibition of a new series of works by the artist in Paris.
The exhibition titled Für Andrea Emo brings together a selection of over 20 mid-size and monumental canvases and four sculptures, which reflect the artist’s long-lasting interest in ideas of destruction and regeneration in an entirely new way. By pouring hot lead on canvases dating from the last two years, Kiefer brings back to life his own art in an iconoclastic gesture. Through this act of recreation, he saves pictures from oblivion while obliterating the original image.
Philosophical and literary references have always been instrumental to understand Kiefer’s practice. In his diary – which will partly be published in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition and gives prime access to the artist’s creative process – Kiefer notes: « This heavy lead bandage that can no longer be detached from the paint skin, these festering sores welling out from the still boiling lead when the pigment beneath it is not bone dry, the little straws on a field that I painted years ago and that appear as charred leavings on the solidified lead – all this reminds me of the Baudelaire poems I reread last year in Portugal. » Anselm Kiefer has worked on his new series of works with an other key figure in mind, Andrea Emo (1901-1983), an Italian philosopher whose nihilist reflections have nurtured his own thoughts: « The deed is the destruction of pictures, their death, their sleep, their burial place, that they require in order to rise again. »