Anselm Kiefer’s Eroticism at Gagosian

Kiefer-abend-275x367William Corwin at artcritical:

Within the high walls of a cloistered garden, a young man falls in love with a rose, but seeking every possible avenue through which to attain his affection, it becomes increasingly clear he can never have it without destroying that aspect of it which he loves. With the general plot line of the original “Romance of the Rose” (1230 CE) in our minds, and its universal ramifications for all human relationships, we can follow the path that Anselm Kiefer weaves in his newest exhibition, “Transition from Cool to Warm,” rich with themes of sexuality, eroticism, femininity and longing. Though bookended with several massive paintings, the heart of the exhibition comprises watercolors and books. The exhibition has also been, to extend the metaphor, bookmarked by two events: an interview with Paul Holdengräber at The New York Public Library and an intimate demonstration of the plaster-soaked-cardboard books taken out of their vitrines at the gallery. These extra-curricular activities allowed the viewer into Kiefer’s thorny garden, and explicated a profound transition of the artist/author from his pulpit of philosopher and historian to a much more earthy place, looking up at the stars with the rest of us.

The exhibition has been laid out along the plan of a basilica, with a pair of rooms as aisles on either side of a main nave. The inner sanctum of the gallery contains a presentation of Kiefer’s newest one-off art books—hybrid objects that ensnare a dizzying number of references: to Wagner and Nordic mythology, Abrahamic traditions, Rodin, Picasso and the modern conception of data storage and presentation.

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