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The German artist Anselm Kiefer (*1945, Donaueschingen) long hesitated between two practices, writing and painting. Although it was the latter he eventually chose, literature continues to play a preponderant role in his body of work. Through their materiality and esthetic, books were the first support for his artmaking, and writing every day in a journal has enabled the artist to reflect on his work and to engage in research that is closely connected with his thinking

The books that Anselm Kiefer began turning out in the years 1968 and 1969 were at first a place where the artist expressed ideas, associations and thoughts, the subsequent tomes quickly became a place for exploration in which the succession of pages made it possible to construct a narrative and situate it in time. The subjects elaborated there were then rescaled within the body of work as a whole, notably in his output of woodcuts. This art of the printmaking has allowed him to envision narrative forms in a completely different space from that of the painted canvas.

The present exhibition Anselm Kiefer Books and woodcuts is the result of a collaboration between the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature in Montricher and the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo. It aims to point up the artist’s many connections with poetry, myths, Sumerian and Biblical stories, fairytales, history, philosophy, Kabbalah, alchemy, and more, through a series of books dating from the years 1969 to 2017, and an accompanying selection of woodcuts, the most recent of which are being shown for the first time.

Natalia Granero, the Jan Michalski Foundation, Montricher, Switzerland
Gunnar B. Kvaran, the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway

The Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature, En Bois Désert 10, 1147 Montricher | Switzerland


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