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Brian David
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Mangey, Scurvey Dog.
Mangey, Scurvey Dog.

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Life: Continuum of Impermanence

Why are we here? Where are we going? They are questions as old as human existence. 

German artist Anselm Kiefer, a painter and sculptor embodies in his art, history and literature to provoke and explore our epic narrative of life and death.

Born in 1945 during the final months of World War II, he was born into and grew up in the destruction of war. Kiefer was part of a generation of Germans that felt shame and guilt of the Holocaust but without personal experience of it. He questioned his entire life about a history shrouded in silence and guilt, he poked the blood soaked open wound of Germany.

His art dealt with themes related to German history and identity, with landscapes that provoke an emotional memory of Germany’s past.
Kiefer, no Luddite, disliked the digital world of computers. What he disliked most was the indiscriminate nature of computer digital memory, total and undifferentiated recall. Digital memory is without significance; an entirety of weightless facts. 

Digital memory is all there but without meaning. Human memory demands significance, attrition and discernment to make meaning; to place a moral weight to memory.

Anselm Kiefer uses giant confrontational canvases to explore man’s quest to make sense of the world. The immensity frames and exposes human epics of slaughters and massacres that are apocalyptic.

The desolate landscapes are heaped with memory. Kiefer incorporates organic matter into his paintings, sewn with straw, hay, twigs and debris, giving them a 3-dimensional gritty texture. These materials transform with time, he integrated time into his paintings.

Kiefer’s  Laßt tausend Blumen blühen (Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom) is from a series that depicts a bountiful field of flowers in the foreground, peachy-pink poppies that recedes into decay and what looks to be a blood soaked life-less greenish-black horizon. His painting is not representation, more like an re-enactment.

His connections make us see the world in a different and poetic way.

Anselm Kiefer has said, the desperate answer to our questions of Why are we here?  Where we are going? 

May well be, we cannot know.



Painting: laßt tausend Blumen blühen (let a thousand flowers bloom), 2012
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