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“Strumming my pain with his fingers. Singing my life with his words…” – The Fugees

In the painting Klingsors Garten one can palpably see the skinning of the painted canvas. The hot lead that was poured on the canvas connects and covers part of old paintings by Kiefer, and peels off on others parts, revealing what stays underneath.

What does that Fugees song have to do with Anselm Kiefers latest exhibition at the Thaddaeus Ropac Galery, dedicated to Andrea Emo, where this painting is exhibited?

Have you ever heard someone singing or talking, or you read a book, and you had the feeling that someone put together just all the right words to express what you had inside of you or managed to arrange all the little pieces of ideas, knowledge and experience into coherence? Than you had one of those moments that Anselm Kiefer had, when he read Andrea Emo (1901-1983), an Italian nihilist philosopher, who he felt put the right words on to his artistic quest, giving the adequate verbal superstructure to his work. Emo’s preferred approach to time is through memory: “there is nothing new except in recollection… the new arises out of us, ourselves the future if we can relinquish it.”

By pouring molten lead on old paintings of his, that he did not appreciate anymore, Anselm Kiefer gave them that second life, the phoenix out of the ashes, the new that arises out of the old.

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