Anselm Kiefer, one of the most highly regarded living painters, recently opened his first ever show at one of the oldest museums in the world, the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The show coincides with the centennial commemoration of the 1917 Russian Revolution. In memory of the occasion, Kiefer titled the show after the Russian Futurist poet Velimir Khlebnikov, a leading avant-garde cultural voice in early 20th century Russia.
“Anselm Kiefer, for Velimir Khlebnikov: Fates of Nations” features 30 new paintings by Kiefer. The works take their inspiration from mystic Khlebnikov poetry, which often dealt with themes of war, destruction and suffering. Kiefer also recently visited Saint Petersburg and while touring the Hermitage became inspired to make these new works specifically to hang in the Nikolaevsky Hall of the Winter Palace, where they are now on view.
Typical to the Kiefer œuvre, the works are almost shocking in both their beauty and their brutality. Oil paint mixed with rust and other detritus brings the textures, colours, and the very quintessence of decay to the forefront, where viewers have no choice but to confront its effect. “Anselm Kiefer, for Velimir Khlebnikov: Fates of Nations” runs until 3 September 2017.
Image caption: L'artiste Rémy Courage dans l'atelier du peintre allemand Anselm Kiefer by Diego Gavani (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons