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Anselm Kiefer and Sigmar Polke

Both of these shows were BIG. Like Richter who was painting at the same time these German artists do large works and lots of them! It was really interesting to find that many of Kiefers works are a homage to the past; taking myths and events and reinterpreting them. This seems to be a reaction against the post-war silence that pervaded Germany – Kiefer reestablished German icons that had been appropriated by the Nazis to justify their actions, for example in his painting Nothung where he refers to the sword in the Nibelung myths and Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I particularly liked Kiefer’s Interiors, paintings of ruinous interiors that were once grand Nazi buildings designed by Albert Speer and Wilhelm Kreis. Also his most recent works; large relief paintings of cornfields painted as if he was lying in them.

Polke’s retrospective at the Tate Modern is equally impressive. I feel the two artists differ in that Polke’s work is absurd, it seems to revel in its pointlessness… Whereas Kiefer has strong themes; links between celestial and earthly, microcosm and macrocosm, ancient civilizations and restoring national pride(?).


Kiefer, The Interior


Polke, Leave the Lab and enter the Office

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