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19 Jan 2018

Kiefer Rodin

Barnes Foundation

Reviewed by Franklin Einspruch

In 1914, Rodin published a paean to France's dilapidated cathedrals. At risk of loss, he felt, was an aspect of the French soul. A century later the Musée Rodin in Paris invited Anselm Kiefer to develop works around the book. Kiefer was a natural choice, his own images of ruins tied to the state of the German soul, though not so closely that the portrayal doesn't reflect badly on the rest of us.

This gripping presentation includes Rodin's sculpture fragments and fragmentary sculptures, clearly products of the same process, as well as lascivious watercolors. Kiefer's plaster-paged books make explicit Rodin's link between sacred architecture and the womb, to which nudes upon churches present their entrances.

Kiefer's paintings are twelve feet square and splashed with lead, charred hellscapes implying a collapse of moral civilization. In one of several vitrines, a mighty scale finds an outsize egg to have little weight. Hope remained apparent to Rodin. To Kiefer it is fading from view.

Exhibition Kiefer Rodin
Start date 17 Nov 2017
End date 12 Mar 2018
Presenter Barnes Foundation link
Venue 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA, USA map
Image Anselm Kiefer, Auguste Rodin: The Cathedrals of France, 2016, oil, acrylic, emulsion, shellac, and lead on canvas, 380 x 380 centimeters, copyright Anselm Kiefer, photo credit: Georges Poncet, private collection, courtesy of the Barnes Foundation

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