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Christian Boltanski (1944)

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Christian Boltanski participtaed in over 150 exhibitions world wide and his works are in the collections of the DE PONT museum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. 2 reasons to devote this blog to Bo;latnski. Firts is that i acquired and important publication by Boltanski  which he designed and contributed. Published by Agnes B, there is a complete series of regularly published magazines titles Points d’Ironie. Boltanski was one of the founders of this highly collectable series and because of this acquisition i remembered the very impressive installation at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao….”HUMANS”

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This is what the Guggenheim says on the installation HUMANS by Christian Boltanski

At once personal and universal in reference, Humans is one of several large-scale works by Boltanski that serve as monuments to the dead, hinting at the Holocaust without naming it explicitly. Through its size and tone, the work evokes the contemplative atmosphere of a small theater or a space for religious observance. The installation consists of more than 1,100 images that the artist rephotographed from sources he had previously used: school portraits, family photographs, newspaper pictures, and police registries. Simultaneously illuminated and obfuscated by dangling lightbulbs, the snapshots provide no context with which to identify or connect the unnamed individuals, or to distinguish the living from the dead or victims from criminals. Each of these traces of human life has been reduced to a uniform size to obscure distinguishing features and to suggest the equality of the photographs’ subjects. The collection of images is installed at random, thereby prohibiting the imposition of a single narrative. Within this haunting environment, Boltanski intermingles emotion and history, juxtaposing innocence and guilt, truth and deception, sentimentality and profundity.

Point d’Ironie and other Boltanski publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Anselm Kiefer (1945)

It is 31 years ago that i saw a  work by Kiefer for the first time I and was really impressed . I remember the occasion….the occasion the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Grey, sombre , large paintings with scenes that reminded of war, devastation and ruins .  Later i learned that the German history and the Holocaust were main themes Kiefer always used in his works. The history of Germany being one of the main subjects in his extremely large paintings. The Stedelijk Museum bought one of the paintings for its collection. “Innenraum” is a large painting ( 280 x 311 cm.)  , but small compared to other Kiefer works.

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The exhibition was a great succes and since i  encountered several other Kiefers in museums. One stands out, impressive and it’s size is overwhelming. ( almost 10 meters in length) and is a must see whenever you visit the North of Spain.

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Anselm Kiefer

Only with Wind, Time, and Sound (Nur mit Wind, mit Zeit und mit Klang), 1997

Acrylic and emulsion on canvas

473 x 944 x 22 cm

Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

 ( the following text comes from the Art Story site)

It is the Anselm Kiefer’s monumental, often confrontational canvases were groundbreaking at a time when painting was considered all but dead as a medium. The artist is most known for his subject matter dealing with German history and myth, particularly as it relates to the Holocaust. These works forced his contemporaries to deal with Germany’s past in an era when acknowledgment of Nazism was taboo. Kiefer incorporates heavy impasto and uncommon materials into his pieces, such as lead, glass shards, dried flowers, and strands of hay, many of which reference various aspects of history and myth, German and otherwise. Influenced by his contemporaries Joseph Beuys and Georg Baselitz, as well as by postwar tendencies in Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual art, Kiefer is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement, which diverged from Minimalism and abstraction to develop new representational and symbolic languages.

Of course there are some nice publications available at www.ftn-books.com including the Anselm Kiefer / Stedelijk Museum catalogue from 1986