September 1, 2016

Summer Musing: Big or Small



I’m not a fan of Anselm Kiefer’s work. It’s too material loaded for me, too easy somehow: you put a lot of poisonous material on your canvas, add a Paul Celan title, and then it’s about war. But there’s one painting I do like and that’s Lilith, mainly because it’s about Lilith, the first free woman in Jewish mythology, who left paradise voluntarily when she wasn't allowed to be Adam’s equal. That painting now hangs in the exhibition Das Kapital by Catherine Nichols and Eugen Blume in Hamburger Bahnhof. You might remember the old days when the huge historical hall of Hamburger Bahnhof was filled with the Anselm Kiefers, then for them to be moved to the smaller but still biggish Kleiheushalle. Now Lilith is exhibited in the small transition room to the restaurant Sarah Wiener. And no kidding, it serves Kiefer well. It’s much stronger! Who would have thought! You can’t keep a distance  to the work and therefore you get more fully absorbed into the material and that does the trick. It's a surprise to me but sometimes big work needs a small space. 


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