Alberto Giacometti, Dog, 1951, cast 1957, bronze, 45.7 x 99 x 15.5 cm, MoMA, New York. Source
Anselm Kiefer, Black Flakes (Schwarze Flocken), 2006, oil, emulsion, acrylic, charcoal, lead books, branches and plaster on canvas, 330 x 570 cm, Private Collection.
Anselm Kiefer, Heroic Symbol V (Heroisches Sinnbild V), 1970, oil on canvas, 150 x 260.5 cm, Collection Wuerth.
Before heading to the Royal Academy to see its latest single artist show, I’d thought that my knowledge of Anselm Kiefer’s life, character and oeuvre was pretty decent. I’ve always been a big fan of modern German artists, such as Richter and Kippenberger, but Kiefer has remained a firm favourite. That being said, the Academy’s phenomenal new retrospective revealed several sides to the artist that I was shamefully unfamiliar with. It’s rare for me to come away from an exhibition feeling completely enlightened in this way!
Unusually, the show begins with what can only be described as an onslaught of visual material: sketchbooks, diaries, watercolours and oils from the late 1960s and 1970s fill the space, and could probably make up an entire exhibition themselves. But it’s a great way to introduce the artist to those who might be less familiar with him, and paves the way for the incredible material to follow. From here, the galleries are generally divided by a certain theme or period of Kiefer’s life, though some are dedicated to just a couple of pieces that might be linked by material or colour. Lead panels studded with sparkling diamonds, designed to emulate constellations, were absolute show-stealers for me. As was Ages of the World, a colossal mixed-media installation created by the artist exclusively for the show. It’s tucked away in a side room, but the impact of its size and subject is certainly felt when you catch a glimpse of it through the archway. By the time you reach the very last room - a labyrinth of monochrome woodcut collages depicting the River Rhine - Kiefer’s unique vision is complete. The nature of the his work, combined with the exhibition’s clever curation, creates an overall feeling of stepping into the artist’s mind and experiencing his obsessions, his knowledge, and the stories he’s longed to tell.
I don’t want to spoil it and give too much more away, because this is the absolute must-see show of the autumn. Just trust me: if you’re fixated by the magical, the mystical, the weird and the wonderful, then Kiefer’s spectacle is one that will inspire, astound and mesmerise.
Anselm Kiefer, Winter Landscape (Winterlandschaft), 1970, watercolour, gouache, and graphite pencil on paper, 42.9 x 35.6 cm, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Anselm Kiefer, Interior (Innenraum), 1981, oil, acrylic, and paper on canvas, 287.5 x 311 cm, Collection Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
Anselm Kiefer, The Orders of the Night (Die Orden der Nacht), 1996, emulsion, acrylic and shellac on canvas, 356 x 463 cm, Seattle Art Museum.
'Anselm Kiefer' is on at the Royal Academy until 14th December 2014. All images © Anselm Kiefer. For further information on image copyrights, see below:
William Coldstream, On the Map, 1937, oil on canvas, 50.8 x 50.8 cm, Tate Collection. Source
This sweet little piece shows the artist Graham Bell [left], and his friend Igor, looking out over the lush green English countryside.
I am thinking about studying art history, but I’m worried that there aren't that many job opportunities. What do you think? What has your experience been like and do you have any advice or suggestions? I would really appreciate it!
I’m so glad to hear that you’re thinking of studying art history. Please don’t be put off by the job market. All fields are suffering in that sense! The great thing about a degree in art history is that it is so versatile: it shows you can write, research, and your skills can be adapted to many other disciplines, such as history, media studies, cultural studies, anthropology etc etc.
I wouldn’t worry about job opportunities right now. You never know where your degree will take you! I’d definitely recommend getting some kind of voluntary work at a local museum or gallery though, just so you can get a feel for that particular industry. Plus it looks good on your CV, and hands-on experience is likely to come in handy during your studies.
Good luck with it all, and please keep me updated on your progress :)
Claude Monet, Poppy Field in a Hollow near Giverny, 1885, oil on canvas, 65.1 x 81.3 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Source
Vincent Michea, Before the Bigger Splash, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 130 x 130 cm, Saatchi Gallery, London. Source
The aim of Vincent Michea’s work is to represent the glitz and glamour of Dakar’s past, according to the Saatchi Gallery. This particular piece reminds me of an album cover, perhaps something Britpop-esque.
Paolo Veronese, The Dream of Saint Helena, c.1570, oil on canvas, 197.5 x 115.6 cm, The National Gallery, London. Source
Paolo Veronese, The Dream of Saint Helena, c.1575-80, oil on canvas, 166 x 134 cm, Vatican Museums, Vatican City. Source
These two impressions of the story of St Helena’s dream look as though they were painted by two different artists! But in fact, they were both executed by the Renaissance great Paolo Veronese, although the identity of the earlier painting’s creator was disputed for quite some time.
Kurt Schwitters, Mother and Egg, c.1945-47, mixed media, 11.2 x 19.3 x 10.5 cm, Tate Collection. Source
There’s something about the shapes and colours of this sculpture that makes me think of an English fried breakfast; or at least a fried egg. Perhaps I’m just hungry … Anyway, in terms of its artistic aesthetic, the white birdlike form is really beautiful to me in the way it displays the little red ‘egg’ within a protective space.
Henry John Stock, The Uplifting of Psyche, n.d., oil on canvas, [no dimensions], Private Collection. Source
I love the fiery tones and brushstrokes used by British painter Henry John Stock. The effect reminds me of a more impressionistic version of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s technique.
Max Pechstein, Still Life with Mirror: Clivia, Fruit and Jug, 1917, oil on canvas, 79.5 x 70.5 cm, Private Collection. Source
Ursula Mayer, film still from Gonda, 2012, colour 16mm transferred to HD with sound, see Gallery 2.
Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq, Falling Stars I, 2013, lacquered steel, see Gallery 1.
This autumn, the Hayward Gallery presents ‘MIRRORCITY’, a multimedia exploration into the fictions and realities of the ever-expanding digital world.
Today was pretty momentous for both ArtMastered and my own personal career. After being kindly invited by London’s Hayward Gallery, I was able to attend my first ever exhibition press view! It was a really great experience, although I managed to miss the curator’s talk because I completely lost track of time in the gallery - it’s pretty easy to lose yourself in this one!
Keep an eye out for my review of 'MIRRORCITY: London Artists on Fiction and Reality', which should be coming up later this evening!
Mário Macilau, Children of Jesus (The Zionist series), 2010, print on cotton rag paper, 120 x 80 cm, Saatchi Gallery, London. Source
Mário Macilau, My Toy (The Zionist series), 2010, print on cotton rag paper, 120 x 80 cm, Saatchi Gallery, London. Source
Mário Macilau, Peace (The Zionist series), 2010, print on cotton rag paper, 120 x 80 cm, Saatchi Gallery, London. Source
Mário Macilau, Purification of the Soul (The Zionist series), 2010, print on cotton rag paper, 120 x 80 cm, Saatchi Gallery, London. Source
Mário Macilau’s photography focuses on human subjects in both Nairobi and Maputo, his hometown. He is interested in the cultural, religious, economic and environmental issues that affect the everyday people of these African cities.
Martin Kippenberger, Portrait of Paul Schreber, 1994, oil on canvas, 240 x 200 cm, Saatchi Gallery, London. Source
The Saatchi Gallery states that the subject of this portrait, the German judge Paul Schreber, suffered a mental breakdown at the end of the 19th century, which led to his stay in a mental institution. He recorded his experiences in a journal, which was read and championed by both Freud and Jung. This image shows Kippenberger’s impression of Schreber’s post-diagnosis brain.
Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa, 1819, oil on canvas, 491 x 716 cm, Musée du Louvre, Paris. Source
The Medusa was a French frigate that crashed off the coast of Senegal, where it had been sent for the purpose of colonisation. It was captained by a somewhat amateur sailor, and after crashing, 150 people had to reach safe land on a raft. Only ten of these sailors lived to tell the tale and Géricault used the accounts of two survivors to capture this particular moment.