Treat for fans with first show of leading German artist’s works
Anselm Kiefer in China, the first retrospective show of the German painter and sculptor in China, will be held in November in Beijing at the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, followed by a tour of some major cities including Shanghai and Nanjing.
A pioneer and leading figure in the German neo-expressionism art movement from the 1960s, Kiefer, 71, was introduced to China in the late 1980s.
Though Kiefer has influenced many Chinese artists, his works have never been seen in China, says Wang Huangsheng, director of CAFA’s art museum and co-curator of the show.
The exhibition will display 87 works covering Kiefer’s paintings, sculptures, installations and videos.
Someof the works are huge, according to Wang, with some paintings up to 5 meters tall.
“Kiefer uses lead in many of his works, which make them heavy and hard to transport. That’s part of the reason why a show of his works is difficult to organize,” says Wang.
The artist, known for his large pieces done with clay, lead, ashes, strawand dried plants, is seen as a torchbearer of Germany’s history and its opposition to war.
Kiefer was a student of German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, who is famous for his slogan “Everyone is an artist.”
In 2013, the CAFA museum held a show of the works of Beuys in China.
Speaking about Kiefer’s works, Shao Dazhen, an art historian and critic, says the works cannot simply be described as paintings or sculpture, as the artist integrates installations, concepts and even performance into his art.
That’s why Kiefer’s art is so influential in China and even across the world, says Shao.
In 1992, Kiefer traveled for three months in China to explore the Silk Road, including Xi’an in Shaanxi province and the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
He later produced works inspired by his visit to China.
Since 2000, Kiefer has visited China many times, says Li Jiayi, a representative of the Bell Art Center that helped organize the show.
The works on display at the Kiefer show are from the MAP collection and Ludwig Museum Koblenz in Germany.
Li says the organizers worked on the show for two years and invested heavily in it.
Meanwhile, though tickets to visit CAFA’s art museum typically costs 10 yuan ($1.50), for the Kiefer show tickets are priced at 60 yuan. No reasons were given for the costlier tickets.
Even the venue for Kiefer’s first show in China has been changed many times. It was earlier reported that the first show of Kiefer’s works would be held at the Baijiahu Art Museum in Nanjing, in East China’s Jiangsu province.
As for whether Kiefer will be in attendance at his first show in China, Li says they are still communicating about it with the artist.
Last year, Markus Lupertz, another leading figure of Germany’s neo-expressionism movement, attended the first show of his works in China.
One of the installations of German artist Anselm Kiefer to be displayed in Beijing.