Anselm Kiefer
August 19, 2011 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow bears witness to German artist Anselm Kiefer’s alchemical creative processes and renders as a film journey the personal universe he has built at his hill studio estate in the South of France.

In 1993 Kiefer left Buchen, Germany for La Ribaute, a derelict silk factory near Barjac. From 2000 he began constructing a series of elaborate installations there. Like a strange, sprawling village, La Ribaute extends over 35 hectares and is composed of old industrial buildings and working studios that link to a network of underground tunnels dug out by Kiefer, which run underneath pavilions built to house paintings and installations. An underground pool at the cul-de-sac of a tubular iron tunnel is embedded within a crypt which backs onto to a 20 m tiered concrete amphitheatre. There are caves and woods, an open landscape of concrete towers – assembled like so many card houses – and secluded, private spaces. Traversing this landscape, the film immerses the audience in the total world and creative process of one of today’s most significant and inventive artists.
posted by Trurl (8 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Every time I go to the art museum I find myself spending the most time staring at Anselm Kiefer's works. Fascinating art, thanks for the post.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 9:07 PM on August 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is a weirdly nice documentary in a way that most documentaries about artists aren't - it doesn't spell anything out for the audience, just shows you things. It's maybe 25 minutes into the film before anyone says anything? Not for everyone - I have reservations about some of Kiefer's recent work, too many Grand Themes that the work doesn't quite live up to - but well done.
posted by with hidden noise at 9:28 PM on August 19, 2011

That was awesome. I didn't know Kiefer was doing such a huge installation. But I can tell this film is never going to play anywhere within a thousand miles of me. That "raising the painting" clip was incredible. But that "melting lead" clip, you have got to be insane to work with lead and open flames like that without protective gear.

The one thing that always struck me about Kiefer's work was the sheer weight. The heaviness of the lead is palpable, just from looking at it. I remember seeing a huge Kiefer show at LA MOCA in '88, they had difficulty building walls that could support the weight of his large paintings.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:53 PM on August 19, 2011

I saw a Kiefer several years ago and was blown away. I spent a good 40 minutes looking at it and really wanted to learn more about him... then I went and had a bottle of wine and entirely forgot his name. So, it has been a good hour since and I have been reading up, looking at other pieces and I haven't even gotten to the video yet! This post has made my week. Thank you.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:41 PM on August 19, 2011

I saw this documentary last year on the big screen as part of the international film festival here.

As someone who works in OH&S in exhibition construction I physically winced a couple of times, but wow, what I'd give to work on a project like that...
posted by deadwax at 8:17 AM on August 20, 2011

Thanks for posting. Looking forward to this.
posted by conrad53 at 8:30 AM on August 20, 2011

As someone who works in OH&S in exhibition construction I physically winced a couple of times, but wow, what I'd give to work on a project like that...

Yeah, that's the sense of gravity I mentioned. Some of those structures seem like a house of cards built from concrete, ready to topple at any moment. It plays on the edge of stability and imminent collapse. That's a whole different use of gravity than someone like Richard Serra, his works exude stability and permanence.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:43 AM on August 20, 2011

I'm so excited about this! Now to sit and wait for 5 years until it screens in Texas...
posted by TheCoug at 10:13 AM on August 20, 2011

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