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Portrait of Anselm Kiefer© Anselm Kiefer, 2006Photo: Renate Graf
Portrait of Anselm Kiefer
© Anselm Kiefer, 2006
Photo: Renate Graf
Anselm Kiefer
LONDON  •  Royal Academy of Art  •  27 September - 14 December 2014
German artist Anselm Keifer (born 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany) tries to shed light on the story behind the story. Explaining that he Ďpokes a hole, and then goes through ití, he highlights the processual nature of history and memory, especially when approached with subjective interpretations, a highly personal handling of individual mythologies and a distinctive creative style. The Royal Academy of Arts presents the first major retrospective of Kieferís work to be held in the UK. Considered to be one of the most important artists of his generation, the exhibition spans over forty years from Kieferís early career to the present time, bringing together artwork from international private and public collections. The exhibition is arranged chronologically, presenting the epic scale of his artwork and the breadth of media he has used throughout his career, including painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Kiefer (born 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany) has also created a number of works conceived specifically for the Royal Academyís Main Galleries

From cultural myths, to the Old and New testaments, Kabbalah, alchemy, philosophy and the poetry of Paul Celan and Ingeborg Bachmann, Kieferís work wrestles with the darkness of German history and considers the complex relationship between art and spirituality. His technical use of materials such as clay, ash, earth, lead, fabric and dried flowers amongst others, adds further symbolism and depth to his work.

Highlights of the exhibition include photographs and paintings from the controversial Occupations and Heroic Symbols (Heroische Sinnbilder) series of the late 1960s and early 1970s. These images record Kieferís re-enactment of the Nazi salute in locations across Europe, made in the belief that one must confront rather than supress the experiences of history. A series of paintings from Kieferís Attic series is also on view, including Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (Vater, Sohn, Heiliger Geist), 1973 and Notung, 1973 depicting powerful renderings of wooden interior spaces based on the studio space that Kiefer was occupying in WalldŁrn-Hornbach in south-west Germany, which he has referred to as ďa place to teach myself history.Ē The exhibition also feature his monumental architectural paintings, such as To the Unknown Painter (Dem unbekannten Maler), 1983 that reflect on the neo-classicist buildings of Albert Speer, Hitlerís architect, and the role of the artist in considering collective memory.

Kiefer has lived and worked in France since 1993.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with contributions from Richard Davey, Simon Schama, Kathleen Soriano and Christian Weikop.

Royal Academy of Art Website

Contact: Burlington House
London W1J 0BD
Tel: (44) 020 7300 80 00

Bill Viola: Martyrs
LONDON  •  St Paul's Cathedral  •  6 May - 31 December 2014
St Paul's Cathedralihosts Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), the first of two large-scale permanent video installations created by artist Bill Viola.

Created by Bill Viola and Kira Perov and opened in May 2014, Martyrs shows four individuals, across four colour vertical plasma screens, being martyred by the four classical elements.

As the work opens, four individuals are shown in stasis, a pause from their suffering. Gradually there is movement in each scene as an element of nature begins to disturb their stillness. Flames rain down, winds begin to lash, water cascades, and earth flies up. As the elements rage, each martyrís resolve remains unchanged. In their most violent assault, the elements represent the darkest hour of the martyrís passage through death into the light.

The work has no sound. It lasts for seven minutes.

Martyrs will be joined in 2015 by a second piece entitled Mary, which the artist has conceived as a companion work. The installations have been gifted to Tate, and are on long-term loan to St Paulís Cathedral.

St Paul's Cathedral Website

Contact: St Paul's Cathedral
Tel: (44) 020 7246 8348

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