Yesterday I spent wondering the cultural palaces of central London with my good friend David. The visit had a Germanic theme as we intended to visit the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Royal Academy followed by the Germany: Memories of a Nation exhibition at the British museum – we had both listened to and enjoyed the recent Radio 4 series of the same name.
I think one of the most important things to do in life is to challenge yourself to look at and try and understand art works that don’t naturally appeal to your tastes, Keifer’s work falls squarely into this. However, it must be said I knew little of Kiefer so it was perhaps unfair of me to judge him on the little I did know. Now at least I have examined his work in detail and I found the whole thing fascinating but in the end I came out not really budging my basic thoughts on the work. For me Keifer’s whole approach from the 1980’s onwards can be summed up in the curator’s note in one of the galleries – see above. Indeed the works seemed to get bigger and more lifeless as the century came to en end. In the end possibly the best way to describe his work was oligarch art. Whether this is a bad thing other more qualified people can judge I found it soul less. However, if you are in London this week I would recommend you check out the exhibition and draw your own conclusions.
One of my continual moans about galleries is the attempt to clamp down on photography. I totally support the no flash rule but photography for personal use is another matter – especially in the internet age when every popular work of art has scores images available on Google. Yesterday was yet another example so I decided to create this triptych of images I could make in the Keifer exhibition. Actually I think they were more interesting than many of the later Keifer works, but then again I suspect I will be unique in that thought!
At the other end of the scale was the British Museum exhibition. This is an real must see for everyone in Britain as I think it will open your eyes as to what it means to be German. Perhaps the one thing that we forget more than anything else is that Germany is one of the newest countries in the world only taking it’s current form in the last 25 years. England, on the other hand has been much the same size and form for over 1000 years