Anselm Kiefer at Palazzo Ducale, Venice

The spectacular Sala dello Scrutinio and the Sala della Quarantia Civil Nova at the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) in Venice, probably one of the most beautiful spaces in the world, showcases new site-specific works by Anselm Kiefer until 29th October, to coincide with the 59th Venice Biennale.

Kiefer was invited by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia (MUVE), to present new paintings this year and the exhibition follows generations of artists including Giovanni Bellini, Vittore Carpaccio, Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto and many others.

“It sometimes happens that there is a convergence between past and present moments, and as they come together one experiences something of that stillness in the hollow of a wave about to break. Originating in the past but pertaining at bottom to something more than the past, such moments belong as much to the present as to the past, and what they generate is of the utmost importance.”Anselm Kiefer.

The monumental space of the Sala dello Scrutinio was the venue for the elections of the Doge and its walls are richly decorated with paintings celebrating the power of the Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia.

Philosophical and literary references have always been central to an understanding of Anselm Kiefer’s work. The exhibition takes its title, Anselm Kiefer Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce (Andrea Emo) (loosely translated as These writings, when burned, will finally cast a little light), from the writings of the Venetian philosopher Andrea Emo (1901-1983). Kiefer first encountered Emo’s work six years ago and his artistic method has striking parallels with Emo’s philosophical thought.

In the installation in Palazzo Ducale Anselm Kiefer also reflects upon Venice’s unique position between north and south and the interplay of the Orient with the Occident. He sees equally meaningful connections between all these different cultures and the history of Venice, where the words of Goethe’s tragic play, Faust: The Second Part of the Tragedy (1832) still resonate.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by Marsilio containing texts by the exhibition’s curators Gabriella Belli and Janne Sirén, and other distinguished authors, including Salvatore Settis, Massimo Donà, Jean de Loisy, Elisabetta Barisoni, and a conversation between Hans Ulrich Obrist and Anselm Kiefer.

Image: Installation view of Anselm Kiefer’s massive “Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce (Andrea Emo)” from 2022.Credit…Anselm Kiefer; via Gagosian and Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia