“Transformation and Transcendence: Anselm Kiefer Surprises at Gagosian Gallery With Airy, Sensual New Work,” By Zoë Lescaze

Anselm Kiefer, aller Tage Abend, aller Abende Tag (The Evening of All Days, the Day of All Evenings), 2014, Watercolor on paper, 42 1/8 × 29 3/4 inches.

“Transformation and Transcendence: Anselm Kiefer Surprises at Gagosian Gallery With Airy, Sensual New Work,”

By Zoë Lescaze

Anselm Kiefer, Aurora, 2015–17, oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, and sediment of an electrolysis on canvas, 110¼ × 149⅝ × 3⅝ inches.

Anselm Kiefer tends to make heavy work. His themes are weighty—the artist is known for examining German history and exhuming German guilt—and his colossal craggy canvases loaded with lead regularly require museums to reinforce their walls. But if navigating a typical Kiefer exhibition feels like bush-whacking through the Black Forest, exploring his current show at Gagosian Gallery on West 21st Street is akin to wandering through Circe’s enchanted woods. There are a few wall-strainers here, to be sure, but jewel-hued watercolors, as airy and loose as the oils are dense and monumental, predominate. Through these works, Kiefer has conjured up a seductive, sensual reverie of transformation and transcendence.

Anselm Kiefer, Les extases féminines (The Feminine Ecstasies), 2013, watercolor on paper, 65¾ × 60⅝ inches.

Most of the watercolors depict women in states of sexual bliss. The figures float naked above blooming flowers, drift through dawn-streaked skies, and lounge on the surface of the sea. The woman touching herself in [The] Feminine Ecstasies (2013) reclines in a fluid realm of radiant red flowers. Kiefer painted her on wet paper, allowing the rose tones of her body to feather and bleed into the blues of the background. The distinctions between breasts, lips, and petals dissolve. This sense of abandonment, of escaping fixed states, lies at the heart of show.

The most spectacular watercolors in the exhibition are painted on plaster. Bound into 30 large sculptural books, they share the title Klingsor’s Garden (2016–17), an allusion to the magical grove of seductresses in Parsifal. (Would it be a Kiefer show without a Wagner reference?) These works, in their intimacy and keen observation, recall Pierre Bonnard’s tender drawings of his bathing wife, as well as Gustav Klimt’s erotic sketches of masturbating models. Kiefer painted the plaster to resemble marble and his women emerge out of illusionistic veins of chalky orange and garnet red. The edges of the pages are chipped and ragged, as though the frescoes were the surviving fragments of an ancient temple both sacred and profane.

All of these works are blatantly voyeuristic, but Kiefer’s nudes are not objectified victims of the male gaze. They appear so elemental, so powerfully unto themselves, that the viewer feels more like an incidental spectator to a sublime eternal truth. Looking at them, one experiences the same kind of self-effacement brought on by standing at the ocean’s edge and imagining untold eons of waves.

Anselm Kiefer, For Segantini: die bösen Mütter (For Segantini: The Bad Mothers), 2011–12, oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, wood, metal, lead, and sediment of an electrolysis on canvas.

Other watercolors in the exhibition depict cemeteries, snow-covered fields, and passenger jets in flight. Taken together, these works epitomize Kiefer’s fascination with metamorphosis. Rows of young crops echo the rows of graves, evoking the cycles of life and death, day and night, summer and winter suggested by the exhibition’s title: “Transition from Cool to Warm.” The soaring planes, like the floating women, exist in a fleeting, liminal state. They have left one place without having arrived at the next. The jets also offset the mythic atemporality of the other paintings, giving the show some contemporary grit. They ground us even as we take flight.

““Transition from Cool to Warm”
Through September 1, 2017
Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York
Info: http://bit.ly/2uTjazy

By Zoë Lescaze, Reprint from ARTnews magazine / ARTnews, 12 July 2017, © 2017, Art Media ARTNEWS, llc..


Got Something To Say:

Your email address will not be published.

You’re so cool! I do not believe I’ve read through something like this
before. So great to discover someone with a few original thoughts on this subject matter.
Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

adreamoftrains best hosting

Howdy just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
The text in your post seem to be running off the screen in Chrome.
I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do
with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to
let you know. The style and design look great though!
Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Thanks

I love looking through an article that can make men and women think.
Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!

I feel this is among the so much vital info for me.
And i’m satisfied reading your article. But wanna statement
on some general issues, The web site style is
great, the articles is in reality excellent : D. Excellent process,

I am actually happy to read this web site posts which includes plenty of valuable
information, thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.

Hi there, its nice post about media print, we all be aware of
media is a great source of data.

Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this web site on a regular
basis, this site is genuinely nice and the users are actually sharing
good thoughts.

Wow, that’s what I was looking for, what a data! present here at
this blog, thanks admin of this web page.

My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right.

This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine
just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

My brother recommended I might like this blog.
He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

all the time i used to read smaller content which
also clear their motive, and that is also
happening with this post which I am reading at this place.

What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads.

I am hoping to give a contribution & assist other customers like its helped me.

Great job.

I think the admin of this website is genuinely working hard for his website, for the reason that here every information is
quality based material.

Thankfulness to my father who shared with me about this weblog, this webpage
is genuinely remarkable.

Hi there i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read this paragraph i thought i could also make
comment due to this brilliant paragraph.