Anselm Kiefer - Der Rhein

13 September – 9 November 2014 

This project was born, for the fourth year in a row, out of the synergy between Ceretto and the organiser Bill Katz. This continuity is the expression of the constant interest of the Ceretto family in contemporary art and their desire to collaborate on projects that bring the works of major international artists to Alba.
The leading man here is one of the most important names in the contemporary art scene worldwide: the German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer. The subject chosen for the Alba exhibition is made up of 8 large canvases entitled Der Rhein (The Rhine), a recurring symbol in the works of this artist. Here, the river alludes to its symbolic value as a link between Romanticism and the subsequent nationalist movement. The artist, in Kiefer’s opinion, is the advocate and critical witness of his own time. This cycle of works juxtaposes the flow of nature, represented by the river, with the formal aesthetic dogmatism that Nazism tried to impose as a standard. In Der Rhein, as in most of his works, Kiefer makes unconventional use of the techniques of traditional painting and overlays thick layers of colour applied irregularly to the canvas. The intensity of the subject, which is poetic and at the same time dramatic, matches perfectly the context in which the works are on show. The exhibition decor has changed, in comparison with previous years, and is no longer based on a horizontal display, but instead there are 8 panels, each more than 3 metres high, placed vertically in the centre of the Baroque Coro.
I was brought up on the banks of the Rhine. France was on the other side. As a boy, I saw the river as an insurmountable obstacle, something that certainly could not be crossed by swimming, The Rhine has therefore acquired a mythological status for me. When you get to this barrier, you can go right or left, but not straight on, except in your imagination.
Anselm Kiefer