Monday, December 6, 2010

The Elegant Composition of Kiefer's Haunting Forms = Pure Elevation

I apologize for my absence the past few weeks! I went on wonderful trip to Connecticut and New York City to stay with some friends and since I’ve been back, all the work I left behind is finally catching up with me.

I had such a marvelously memorable experience in the static city of New York. I was able to engage all of my senses through the restaurants, strolling through the city, shopping, dancing, meeting new friends, conversing with old friends, and best of all, gallery hopping through the alluring streets of Chelsea. However blissful my trip to the city was, what I brought back to Los Angeles with me was instead a quite disturbed frame of mind.  

I was haunted by the last exhibitions that I visited before leaving the city; this was Anslem Kiefer’s exhibition “Next Year in Jerusalem” at the Gagosian Gallery.

According to the gallery, there are several themes in these compositions, ranging from complex events of history, ancestral stories of life, death, the sacred and spiritual, and the ongoing destruction of the world that all emphasize the importance of acts of imagination as a tool against forgetting our culture and history.

Anyone who walks into this exhibition space can sense the intensity whether they understand it or not, and they cannot help but walk away from it sensing the presence of their past and future lingering over them.

The theme that attracted me most was that of cultural myths and metaphors of Roman History that was evident to me in the massive images that are only partially visible through open doors in the insides of the containers. According to Kiefer, this imposing structure is a monumental archive of human memory and serves to remind the viewer of what has happened and what can still happen in the world.

I suppose what made this exhibition so poignant is his arrangement and fusion of literature, painting, and sculpture. These various works of epic scale engulf the viewer, transporting the viewer in a way that heightens one’s sense of spirit. This exhibition is proof of the power that a gallery space has as a tool for elevation.
pictures from


  1. papa':
    sure u r flooding us with adjectives, example first time I hear NY defined as STATIC, great the NY-LA transition and more...

    Recognized Kiefer immediately from wall painting, may u remember seeing his catalog and art at Bill Katz's Soho loft in 2007(or 2008).

    BRAVA! gud choice

  2. Today anniversary of infamous attach on Pearl Harbor.
    Perfect match for your Kiefer's pictures, he is so death conscious, multiple death, numerous dead, not an individual personal event, war death.

  3. Thank you! How interesting that my posting coincided with the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And now that I think of it, I do remember seeing a catalog a few years ago in the city.

  4. Your writing is so vivid and deeply felt--it's wonderful to see through your eyes. (And your pictures are good, too!)

  5. Great blogpost zu! I like this perspective of using art to retain the past. Sometimes I feel like artists try too hard to retrain memory and to narrowly recast history in light of a very particular and nuanced perspective. Looks like Kiefer took a much more immersive approach....