Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Restoring a Kiefer Painting

The excellent video below is a behind-the-scenes look at the restoration, conservation, and preservation of a complex, monumental painting in three parts by Anselm Kiefer. As the documentary illustrates, the process of examining a work of art and identifying solutions to restore it to its original state is complex, made more so in the case of this particular painting, whose materials include barbed wire, sand, and dried flowers, because decay is both presumed and expected as a natural part of Kiefer's creative mark-making. Decisions about what is acceptable as decay of the varied and vulnerable materials and what is not are close calls.

The collectors Henrik and Victoria De Heus-Zomer purchased Kiefer's 1998 painting, titled Wohin wir uns wenden im Gewitter der Rosen, ist die Nacht mit Domen erhellt, in 2011 and subsequently loaned it in perpetuity to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Their cooperation, close consultation, and collaboration with the museum to restore the artwork ensured that the extraordinary painting will continue to be seen for many years to come.

The museum showed the painting and selections from its collection of Kiefer's work in 2012. (See "German Art from Kiefer to Henning".)

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