Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age
19 May - 23 SeptemberFree
Villepin is pleased to announce a major solo exhibition of German artist Anselm Kiefer in Hong Kong, Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age, opening on May 18th, 2023. Presenting the artist’s celebration of the mythology that surrounds the ancient “Golden Age,” the exhibition coincides with a special moment for Hong Kong as the city reopens its borders and looks forward to a new era for the gallery.
Through the long-standing personal relationship between the founders of Villepin and Anselm Kiefer, the exhibition has been collaboratively curated between gallery and studio and offers a comprehensive view of the practice of one of the most important artists of his generation. Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age will feature a large scale installation and monumental paintings created between 2020 to 2022. The exhibition will be accompanied by salon talks, guided tours, and educational materials.
The exhibition title Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age takes its cue from Greek and historical myths, which often allude to the peak of human civilization, denoting a period of primordial prosperity and peace. Kiefer is particularly fond of the German philosopher and cultural critic Ernst Bloch, who renews the core idea of, and interest in, utopia. In his book The Principle of Hope, Bloch explores the idea of the Golden Age as a utopian ideal, defining the concept of utopia as a philosophy that envisions a better future for humanity. Bloch argues that hope and striving for a better world are fundamental to human existence, and that this impulse is what drives people to create art, music, and literature.
Through Kiefer’s repertoire of imagery, Anselm Kiefer: Golden Age investigates the dichotomy of humanity, its balancing between utopia and dystopia, and inspires new perspectives of our modern world that faces many challenges. Installed across three floors in the gallery, Kiefer’s works remind us of the utopian ideal, capturing the profound truths of humanity through the transformative nature and alchemic processes of each series.
Featured in the exhibition, his bodies of work Alkahest and For Segantini both depict the imagery of mountains, which serve as a recurring motif and can be interpreted as a metaphor for utopia, representing a place where the human spirit can soar to its greatest heights. Like much of Kiefer’s oeuvre, the works are inspired by verses from his favorite poets, as well as by the myths and legends of diverse cultures and places. The artist creates a moving, poetic landscape of peaks that summon the impulse and desire for a better world that drives humanity forward. Layered with gold leaf, lead, oil, acrylic, soil, and sediment, Kiefer’s works reflect the constant change in the transcendence of material and choice of subject matter. Other recurring motifs in the exhibition include bicycles and wheels, conveying the idea of renaissance and cyclical changes from one place to another.
ABOUT THE ARTIST / ORGANISERAnselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945, a few months before the end of the Second World War. In his works, he explores historical themes, and ruminations about national identity, in particular of the relics of German history. He studied law before devoting himself to painting, attending the School of Fine Arts at Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Germany, then the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany. Inspired by history, mythology, and literature Kiefer often uses these materials as the prime source of his work.
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