Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Anselm Kiefer: Post Minimalism: Neo Expressionism

Anselm Kiefer is a German born painter and sculptor. His work is most closely linked to the neo expressionism and new symbolism movements. Kiefer's work is typified by large scale paintings in which he uses oil, acrylic, shellac, emulsion, straw and other miscellaneous mediums incorporated into his paint to create an impasto effect. In addition, Kiefer has also been known to use destructive effects on his painting such as burning and tearing the canvas in order to enhance the meaning of the painting. The painting above is titled Nigredo, a painting inspired by the destruction of World War II. The destruction and symbolism behind Kiefer's work is what attracts me to his paintings; for instance, Nigredo has two meanings 1) it means "Blackness" in Latin and refers to the alchemist idea that blackness "is not absolute but can be perceived as part of a process of renewal and redemption" (Gardner 1070). 2) Nigredo is a reference to the transition between blackness and gold, thus symbolizing the German history, that is, after the horrors of WWII and the Nazi regime Germany will hopefully be able to rebuild itself into something better and brighter.  


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