“These Writings, When Burned,
Will Finally Give Some Light”
Pavilion Palazzo Ducale | Venice | 2022
For this FSA Inspiration, we highlight Anselm Kiefer’s floor-to-ceiling, mixed-media painting installation, “Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce” (“These Writings, When Burned, Will Finally Give Some Light”) at the Pavilion Palazzo Ducale inside the Doge Palace. Kiefer was invited by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezi (MUVE) to create works in conversation with the Sala dello Scrutino, a 14th century Venetian Gothic building, on view during Venice Biennale 2022.
In a statement in The Art Newspaper, co-curator of the exhibition, Gabriella Belli remarks: “‘The show’s title comes from an obscure 20th-century Venetian philosopher, Andrea Emo’ […] ‘to whose thought Kiefer feels very close.’ It suggests that ‘producing and destroying are one’, she says, and the new works use Venetian motifs to comment on the artist’s perennial themes of creation, destruction and transformation. Completed during the pandemic, the works have a very precise but non-narrative order.”
Influenced by literature, philosophy and German Romanticism – myth, death, and rebirth play heavily in Kiefer’s monolithic installations, a milieu of grief, beauty, and mysticism.
Influenced by literature, philosophy and German Romanticism – myth, death, and rebirth play heavily in Kiefer’s monolithic installations, a milieu of grief, beauty, and mysticism. Richly drawing upon a sturm und drang themes (such as Goethe’s Faust), Kiefer evokes the sublime in these tactillic paintings. To illustrate, visitors to this installation have remarked that the viewing experience is purely emotional. Not only do the massive panels echo the opulence of the pavilion, but they envelope the viewer in a type of transcendent womb.
Reflects Kiefer himself on this particular installation for FAD Magazine: “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.”
In a brief video linked below, Kiefer relates that when he received his first communion as a young boy in the Roman Catholic Church, he expected a spiritually profound experience. To his disappointment, he explains, he did not have a numinous encounter with the divine; however, he relates cheekily, it was at that time he decided to become an artist. Forever on the hunt for that revelation, he relates, art is his spiritual practice.