Appel à communications : Anselm Kiefer (Manheim, 12 mars 2021)

Symposium: Anselm Kiefer. Materials, Themes, Reception

Anselm Kiefer (*1945) is one of the best-known German artists of the post-war period. His extensive and multi layered work deals with German history, the connection between Jewish and Christian tradition and the media of memory culture. The special exhibition « Anselm Kiefer » at the Kunsthalle Mannheim shows works from the Grothe Collection representing more than 30 years of artistic creation. In addition to oil paint and shellac, the internationally renowned artist’s typical materials include ash, lead, concrete, plants and synthetic resin. The mostly large-format paintings and sculptures are designed for overwhelming effects in their dimension and haptic materiality.
Starting from the central early work « Census » from 1987-89, the exhibition shows around 17 works from more than three decades, such as « The Great Cargo » (1981/1996), « Women of Antiquity » (2002), « Palm Sunday » (2007), or « The Lost Letter » (2011-2017).

Concept of the Symposium (12.3.2021)
Anselm Kiefer has taken up existential themes for society and its individuals. After his intensive examination of German post-war history in his early work, he has produced works on the connection between Jewish and Christian culture in recent decades since moving to France. In them, the artist shows his interest in the various world religions, mysticism, and the findings of the natural sciences. Kiefer’s works are contemporary history paintings that critically reflect on history and achieve an emotional effect with their aesthetics.

Anselm Kiefer’s work has been shown in numerous international exhibitions and was accompanied by extensive catalogues. Various publications and monographs focus on important themes in the artist’s oeuvre or show the history of the studios, which appear as artistically shaped landscapes transformed into total works of art. Individual art history studies compared Kiefer’s work in various contexts with other contemporary artistic positions. Art criticism, in turn, has provided a public discussion of the aesthetics and thematic content in Anselm Kiefer’s works. Anselm Kiefer has received numerous awards and has even been commissioned to create new works for the Louvre or the Panthéon.

In the context of the special exhibition at the Kunsthalle Mannheim, the symposium will illuminate Anselm Kiefer’s work from the perspective of recent research. In addition to the presentation of the works, the transdisciplinary research of comparative and critical studies from the fields of art history, literature and cultural studies, history and political science, memory culture, theology or art education will be presented. The selected speakers of the symposium and the discussions with the audience should contribute to the current and recent international reception of Anselm Kiefer.
The call is addressed to both established and emerging scholars; submissions from qualifying papers, ongoing research projects, or essays on art criticism that date back no more than five years are invited. The proposal may focus on the exhibited works or may consider the following contexts:

– Anselm Kiefer’s work in the context of the postwar period and commemorative culture.
– Discourse and criticism of the work in contemporary art history
– The German-French perspective on the political role of the artist Anselm Kiefer
– Poetry and writing in Kiefer’s paintings and sculptures
– Cosmology and astronomy between Renaissance and NASA
– World Culture Studies
– Gender Studies
– Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah rediscovered
– Christian Iconography in Transition
– Artists’ books and knowledge transfer
– Kiefer’s work in art education and art pedagogy
– Further proposals are possible

The symposium will be inaugurated by a panel discussion.

Participants of the panel are:
– Prof. Dr. Andreas Beyer, University of Basel, Department of Art History, Chair of the research network Bilderfahrzeuge.
– Prof. Dr. Klaus Gallwitz, Karlsruhe, former director of the Städelsches Kunstinstitut Frankfurt am Main, curator of works by Anselm Kiefer in the German Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1980.
– Dr. Esther Graf, member of the board of the Jewish community of Mannheim, academic researcher in art history at the Center for Jewish Studies in Heidelberg
– Dr. Harriet Häußler, freelance art historian, Berlin, 2000-2003 studio assistant to Anselm Kiefer, PhD thesis on Anselm Kiefer’s « Himmelspaläste » (Heavenly Palaces)

The proposed presentations should not extend 20 minutes. Conference languages are German and English. Due to the current measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, the event will be hybrid and streamed online. Presentations can be accessed online via a video chat platform set up by the organizer.

Deadline for proposal submission: January 31, 2020.
Please submit abstracts by email with a maximum of 2,000 characters and CV details. A selection of papers will be made by February 4, 2020.

The Kunsthalle will cover the costs of accommodation for the speakers. Travel costs can be subsidized by prior arrangement.

The exhibition and the program are sponsored by Stiftung Kunsthalle Mannheim, Hector-Stiftungen, Verein 321-2021:1700 Jahre Jüdisches Leben in Deutschland e.V., and the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community.

Curator of the exhibition: Dr. Sebastian Baden
Program curator: Dörte Dennemann
Kunsthalle Mannheim
Friedrichsplatz 4
68165 Mannheim

Source :

What do you want to do ?

New mail

Leave a Reply