The summer of Boijmans
June 2012

On Kawara & Anselm Kiefer

This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is presenting two exhibitions based on works from the permanent collection. From 9 June the Print Room is hosting a selection of works by the Japanese Conceptual artist On Kawara. From 23 June a monumental 4 x 8 metre painting by Anselm Kiefer will be on display as part of the exhibition ‘The Collection. German Art from Kiefer to Henning’.

Anselm Kiefer - Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Dornen erhellt (1998)
Anselm Kiefer - Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Dornen erhellt (1998)

Monumental work by Kiefer
This summer the museum is showing the painting ‘Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Dornen erhellt’ (1998) by Anselm Kiefer. The painting is on long-term loan from the De Heus-Zomer collection. In 1970 Anselm Kiefer (1945) was a student of Joseph Beuys, under whose influence he began to make large historical paintings. His work is full of references to historical events and figures, with war and destruction as important themes. He is especially preoccupied with German history, as in his photographic self-portrait ‘Occupation’ (1969) in which he makes the Nazi salute. In the late 1970s and early 1980s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen acquired several very large and important works by Kiefer.

Extraordinary studio

In 1993 Kiefer moved to the French village Barjac, where he transformed an abandoned silk factory in an industrial wasteland into a 35-hectare studio. There, together with assistants, he has created a gigantic art project with more than forty subterranean galleries in which he displays his own work. The extraordinary site, known as ‘La Ribaute’, also includes crypts, towers, tunnels and an amphitheatre. Sophie Fiennes has made a documentary about Kiefer and his wonderful studio entitled ‘Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow’. Watch the trailer here.

Cross section of post-war German painting
‘The Collection. German Art from Kiefer to Henning’ provides a cross section of post-war German art from the museum’s collection, supplemented by several important (long-term) loans from private collections including the De Heus-Zomer collection. The exhibition features work by Anton Henning, Neo Rauch, A.R. Penck, Markus Lüpertz, Georg Baselitz and Milan Kunc, among others. Click here for more information.

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On Kawara - 4MARS1973 (1973)

On Kawara in the Print Room
The Japanese artist On Kawara (1933) makes works that mark the passage of time. In 1966 he began his famous ‘Today’ series. During his extensive travels to cities all over the world, Kawara makes paintings according to a set pattern: against a monochrome background - often dark grey but sometimes blue or vermilion - he paints the date on which the work was made in white characters. Every painting in the series is housed in a cardboard box made by the artist, lines with a page from a local newspaper published in the day he made the painting. In this way, the works in the Today series refer not only to a particular day but also to the artist’s location at that time. If he is unable to complete the work within a day he destroys it.

On Kawara
On Kawara was born in Kariya, Japan. After graduating in 1951, he moved to Tokyo where participated in the first Nippon Exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in 1953. In 1959 he began to travel around the world, first to Mexico and then to Europe. He settled in New York in 1965. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Documenta in Kassel, the Tokyo Biennale and the Venice Biennale.

This summer there is a presentation of Kawara’s work in the Print Room. Alongside five paintings from the ‘Today’ series the exhibition features sixty-eight postcards addressed to Michael Sesteer, a telegram from the ‘I’m Still Alive’ series and an audio work. The postcards are a promised gift from the heirs of Michael Sesteer. Read more about the exhibition here.

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