ANSELM KIEFER IN CONVERSATION WITH TIM MARLOW - LCC LECTURE THEATRE // 6/12/2011
Seeing a talk by one of Germany’s most successful and influential artist is one thing, but being able to see him at your old college, for free, on a Tuesday afternoon is quite another.
Kiefer is a fascinating artist, whose influence is so strong that I cannot really remember a time when I was not aware of his work. His energetic, violent, monumental artworks have a massive presence in any gallery and always have an air of unsettled eeriness.
Part of the pleasure of seeing this talk was that Marlow already has a considerable knowledge of Kiefer and his work (partly due to the new show about to begin at White Cube Bermondsey) and the artist himself was refreshingly reassured, open and straight forward about his own life and art production.
On opening Kiefer was asked:
"when did you first know you wanted to be an artist?"
To which he replied
"Oh before I was born"
Such a statement takes a certain kind of confidence, and a typically German straight forward demeanour.
Kiefer’s discussion about his own process and exploration also reveal a man who is not too insular or overly self-reflective. He confidently stated that his art was made as an exploration of what he sees, not as a self indulgent process. On questioning the political ramifications of utilising the Nazi salute in his college work he also explained that it was not a political act but rather a reflection on a history and upbringing within a post National Socialist Germany.
The structure of the conversation was also refreshing. At only an hour long the talk was split equally between direct questions from Marlow and those from the floor. Again Kiefer’s self-assured air led to many questions being unanswered as he deemed them inappropriate or too broad, we were also spared (thank god) the usual thinly veiled self- promotion of the questioner in this setting. It’s a relief to see an audience actually taking a stronger interest in the artist than themselves.
One statement that struck me was Marlow’s account of a conversation:
"Gerhard Richter is Germany’s best contemporary artist"
"Why not Anselm Kiefer?"
"Oh Kiefer is a fantastic artist, but Richter sells for so much more"
That really says it all doesn’t it?18 notes