Exhibition: Anselm Kiefer Superstrings, Runes, The Norns, Gordian Knot

I first found out about this exhibition from a Guardian article which interviews Kiefer on his seemingly random conceptual drive behind the landscape paintings he makes. Reading the article I was thinking ‘here is an artist who ties scientific and religious ideas to landscape painting… I NEED TO SEE THIS WORK!’.

Sadly I never got around to seeing the show, I only got a glimpse of the main corridor of the exhibition when I turned up at the White Cube to find it was still closed for the holidays. This main corridor was lined with these floor to ceiling monolithic works, with earthy backgrounds and thick wire encased in glass, with mathematical formulae written on the glass. The long corridor felt spiritual, with a great heavy atmosphere to it. It was entrancing.

Kiefer has ‘tried to bring together theories of seemingly extraneous principles from different cultures and histories’, so that complex scientific theory is connected with subject matter from ancient mythology. In so doing, Kiefer makes visual the idea that, ‘Everything is connected: the missing letters, string theory, the Norns, the Gordian knot.’


Looking at images of the show on White Cube’s website I can see how Kiefer translates a jumble of ideas into chaotic works. The only order in the pieces seems to be that they are predictably flat, that the works take the expected and orderly form of a painting.

At White Cube, all of these topics are somehow connected, though the result often resembles a kind of organised chaos theory,


I listened to a podcast interview with Kiefer on the exhibition, which highlighted how engrossed Kiefer is in his work, and the subtle connections between ideas.

Reading, listening and thinking about this exhibition over the Christmas break has led me to embrace content and ideas that I might previously have labelled irrelevant. I think this was coming anyway, but I am conscious of it now. Subjects such as sci-fi, poetry, architecture and history. All things that have been loosely connected to my practice, but things that I now want to consciously embrace and immerse myself in, to see where that leads my work.

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