Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
8 October 2010 through 16 January 2011
Gateshead Quays, South Shore Road, Gateshead, UK
+44 191 478 1810


This is a major exhibition of the work of Anselm Kiefer, one of the foremost figures of European post-war painting. The exhibition includes a diverse body of work, offering a selection that spans four decades and ranges from early paintings to monumental installations, some of which has been rarely seen before.

The starting point for Kiefer’s work is his fascination with myth, history, theology, philosophy and literature. For many years his painting was a vehicle to come to terms with his country’s past, and subsequently became ever concerned with religious traditions and the symbolism of different cultures. Kiefer’s weighty subject matters are reflected in the monumental scale of many of his works, while his keen exploration and visceral layering of materials such as lead, ash, rope and human hair bring an emotional potency.

Among the paintings to be included in the exhibition are three works from the artist’s
early Parsifal series (1973), drawn from Richard Wagner’s last opera and its 13th
century source, a romance by Wolfram von Eschenbach based upon the legend of the Holy Grail. With Palette 1981, Kiefer revealed the problematic legacy inherited by artists in post-war Germany: the artist’s palette hangs from a single burning thread evoking shame, loss and the apparent impossibility of artistic creation. The expansive Man under a Pyramid 1996, which measures more than five meters long, continues the artist’s interest in meditation and the linking of body and mind.

Also included is Palmsonntag 2006 which comprises a vast sequence of 36 paintings
arranged around a full-size palm tree. While avoiding explicit religious statement, the
death and resurrection, decay, re-creation and rejuvenation; human themes that are central to Kiefer’s practice and that will be identified throughout this presentation.