amsterdam

Anselm Kiefer

Helen van der Meij Gallery

This show of huge woodcuts demonstrated a continuous development in Anselm Kiefer’s work and at the same time revealed a direct use of figurative motifs: trees, a river, and monumental architecture. However direct these motifs, their meaning is multilayered, as is the use of wood on the formal level. On cut-out pieces of paper glued together in enormous collages, strong black forms in tarlike paint are pressed onto the off-white grounds. Kiefer uses the woodcut process to depict both the trees within the picture and the borders of the picture; the trees are printed with boards drenched in ink, giving a black, silhouettelike effect, whereas the borders are printed with thinly inked planks whose grain is allowed to show, giving the impression of wood frames. The image of a river, sometimes inscribed as ‘Rhein,’ recurs; here the grain motif is used for the streaming water, as if both river

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