ANSELM KIEFER: Cornelia

Two recent works by German artist Anselm Kiefer are currently on display at The Hess Collection Winery. One is a mixed media painting entitled Am Anfang (In The Beginning) in which he combines oil-paint, clay, sand straw & lead sheets. The other piece is a mixed media sculpture called Cornelia, a life-size sculpture of a woman in a wedding gown, her upper body imprisoned in rusty razor wire.

Born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany, Kiefer was profoundly influenced by the scars left in the wake of Germany’s aggression & ultimate defeat in World War II. In 1966 he left law studies at University of Freiburg to study at the art academies in Freiburg, Karlsruhe, & eventually Dűsseldorf, where he studied under famed artist, Joseph Beuys. Kiefer’s early paintings were typically enormous & laden with ironic references to 20th century German history – in particular, the Nazi period. In the 70's he painted a series of landscapes that viscerally relate rutted, somber and almost guilt ridden German countryside; His work has become increasingly sculptural and encompassing of ancient European, Hebraic and Egyptian mythology. The use of images relating to mysticism, theology and the occult contribute to a brooding darkness in his work that reminds one of death and the trauma of living, but also includes the hope of rebirth.