Treat for fans with first show of lead­ing Ger­man artist’s works

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By DENG ZHANGYU dengzhangyu@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

One of the in­stal­la­tions of Ger­man artist Anselm Kiefer to be dis­played in Beijing.

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