Anselm Kiefer Für Andrea Emo
11 February – 9 June 2018
Five years after Anselm Kiefer’s exhibition for the inauguration of our Pantin gallery, and following his retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 2016, Thaddaeus Ropac presented a new series of works by the artist in Paris. The exhibition Für Andrea Emo brought together together a selection of around twenty paintings along with three sculptures, which reflected the sedimentation of memory cherished by the artist. The vitrines encapsulated a spiritual connection between several elements. They appeared as many fossils or artefacts to unearth, as many micro-fictions to decipher. With an unprecedented formal inventiveness, the paintings reflecedt the artist’s continuous interest in the process of destruction and regeneration. By pouring molten lead, Kiefer obliterated the original image and brings to life his own work in a radically iconoclastic gesture.
Philosophical and literary references have always been instrumental to understand Anselm Kiefer’s practice. The exhibition was dedicated to Andrea Emo (1901-1983), an Italian philosopher whose nihilist thinking has fuelled the development of his work. A solitary thinker who has chosen the path of reclusion and self-exclusion from the academic world, Emo is an important figure in new metaphysics. From his singular writing, which takes the form of fragments and notes, emerges a form of theology in negation. Andrea 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.” This is how Anselm Kiefer finds in Andrea Emo’s philosophy an echo to his own questions. When Andrea Emo writes: “the deed is the destruction of pictures, their death, their sleep, their burial place, that they require in order to rise again”, Anselm Kiefer answers: “you’ve come to realize that a picture always erases the immediately preceding one, that it’s a matter of constant disposal and rebirth”.