The Lia Rumma Gallery is delighted to announce the opening of Anselm Kiefer's new solo exhibition Voglio vedere le mie montagne - für Giovanni Segantini on Sunday 12 February 2023, marking the artist's return to Naples.
The title of the new series of paintings presented at the exhibition, which draws on the words uttered by the artist Giovanni Segantini shortly before his death, also refers to a work by Joseph Beuys whom Kiefer met while studying at the Dusseldorf Academy of Arts (Kuntsakademie). However, Kiefer states that "the title is often not an explanation of the image but rather an allusion". Like many of his other works, inspired by verses of his favourite poets, the myths and legends of many different cultures and places, and thus full of lyrical and epic influences and echoes, the artist in this case creates a moving, poetic landscape of peaks and mountain tops that transcend those adored by the symbolist painter Segantini. Mountain chains are viewed as ideal yet threatening places, testifying to the turbulence of the ever-changing natural world in which painting is based on sensation, using a stratification of colour and mood. According to Kiefer, who conducts himself as an alchemist-poet constantly in search of new forms to set against the status quo, trying to redesign a new order in the world, the creative act always remains a continuous process of transformation, an unfinished undertaking to which one can return. Even more than the "mountains" painted by Segantini, the crux lies in what takes place between them or outside the paintings because, as Kiefer explains, "art is like a walk along a mountain ridge where there is a risk of falling down either one side or the other”.
The large paintings on display in the gallery portray a powerful, unsettling landscape. Kiefer employs writing as a 'poetic word' on the picture surface that moves freely - in this case the words Voglio vedere le mie montagne - für Giovanni Segantini return and chase each other - above the dark, earthy peaks, illuminated by crepuscular or nocturnal rays of light. But the writing, always done in his own hand, has an ambiguous function, providing the image with an occasionally unexpected interpretation, as in the case of Die Windsbraut (The Bride of the Wind) where a rocky windswept landscape is overlain by the title of a famous painting by Oskar Kokoschka which depicts the artist embracing his lover Alma Mahler as if they had been swept away by a storm. The idea for the work probably came to him following a trip to Naples in April 1913 when the couple were caught by surprise by a sudden, violent storm.