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拍品詳情

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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倫敦

Anselm Kiefer
生於1945年
UNTITLED
dated 97 and inscribed on the reverse
woodcut, shellac and acrylic on paper laid down on canvas
362 by 208.2 cm. 142 1/2 by 82 in.
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來源

Anthony d'Offay, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner in April 1997

相關資料

A field of drooping sunflowers bow their heads toward the ground where a supine body lies motionless in the foreground of Anselm Kiefer’s Untitled. Sprouting from the figure is an enormous sunflower, towering above the field behind it and blocking the view of cloudless sky. The symbol of a plant emerging from a human form can be traced to the Ashburn Manuscript, now held in the Laurentian Library in Florence, which illuminates a biblical scene where Adam, having been pierced by an arrow, lies motionless while a tree emerges from his loins like an umbilical cord. Untitled is one of several works that have repeated this theme using sunflowers between 1995 and 1996. However, Kiefer began using this imagery as early as 1971 with his watercolour Liegender Mann mit Zweig (Man Lying with Branch) which offers a more literal translation of its biblical origins.

Having relocated to the south of France in the early 1990s, Kiefer executed Untitled not far from Arles, where Van Gogh created his vibrant sunflower works. Unlike the cheerful yellow hues of the Master, however, the present work emanates a melancholic and sombre tone exacerbated by the minimal black and white palette. The charred faces of the sunflowers reflect the infinity of space and contrast sharply with the pale flesh of the inert body. Growing up with a father who taught art and art history, Kiefer was exposed to modern masterpieces from an early age and often quotes art historical and academic referents in his works. When observing Untitled, the viewer might wonder if the male figure is a self-portrait or a reference to a different source. Indeed, given the star-shaped sunflower that dominates the composition, we could imagine the Kiefer poetically alludes to that for every plant on Earth there was a corresponding star in the firmament. Fludd is remembered for his ‘Diagram of Spheres’, an occult symbol first published in his Utriusque Cosmi, a five-volume encyclopaedia of the divine cosmos published between 1617-21. This symbol, made up of concentric circles, represents the ties between the Cosmos and Earth. Kiefer wholeheartedly embraces this association, believing that plants and flowers symbolise this relationship between heaven and earth, life and death, and the eternity beyond. They are bidirectional: both pointing upwards as they grow and downwards as roots meld with earth and other decomposed plants.

Art historian Germano Celant writes that for Kiefer “art is an opening-up between order and chaos, between human and natural, between individuality and history, between heaven and earth. Through its function as a link that holds together opposites, these poles belong to each other. For this reason, the intimate reality of the artist is the original force that nourishes the tree of life, through which the human is connected to the natural, the terrestrial to the celestial” (Germano Celant cited in: Germmano Celant et al., ’ Anselm Kiefer, Milan 1997, p. 15). By embracing these mythologies and infusing them into his work, Kiefer transforms the quotidian elements of acrylic, shellac, paper and canvas into something of extreme metaphorical significance. Untitled evokes the transformative effects that are inherent to Kiefer’s best work.

Contemporary Art Day Auction

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倫敦