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Anselm Kiefer: ‘Art is difficult, it’s not entertainment’

Celebrated German artist reflects on his work before opening of his biggest UK show, at White Cube gallery in London
(via the guardian)

Anselm Kiefer works on a grand scale. On Friday the artist will sign a contract to buy the Mülheim-Kärlich reactor, a decommissioned nuclear power station near Koblenz, Germany. And on the same day Kiefer, one of Germany’s most celebrated postwar artists, will attend the opening night of his biggest show ever in Britain, spread over 11,000 sq ft of the newly opened White Cube gallery in south London.

Kiefer’s art is deeply serious, dense with both esoteric symbolism and political meaning. The show, Il Mistero delle Cattedrali, takes its title from a 1926 book by Fulcanelli, a mysterious figure who practised alchemy, and contains monumental paintings and sculptures alluding to ideas from the philosopher’s stone to the second world war.

“Art is difficult,” says the 66-year-old firmly. “It’s not entertainment. There are only a few people who can say something about art – it’s very restricted. When I see a new artist I give myself a lot of time to reflect and decide whether it’s art or not. Buying art is not understanding art.”

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