Anselm Kiefer, 2002

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Anselm Kiefer: A.E.I.O.U.
Sammlung Würth, Inv. 15606

The first artist selected by the Salzburg Foundation was Anselm Kiefer, who currently resides in Barjac, South France. Kiefer’s work, titled „A.E.I.O.U.“, is a walk-in installation containing a large-format painting, a shelf of books made of lead, and a wall inscription.

The house in Furtwänglerpark was built and furnished exactly to the artist’s stipulations. The shelf holds sixty lead volumes from which branches of Moroccan thornbushes seem to grow. These enter a dialogue with the painting opposite, „Awake in the Gypsy Camp.“ The painting quotes a strophe from Ingeborg Bachmann’s poem „Das Spiel ist aus“ (The Game is Over). It shows clay bricks set out to dry – an allusion to Sumerian cuneiform tablets – and is partially strung with NATO wire. The inscription translates: „Awake in the gypsy camp and awake in the desert tent, the sand runs out of our hair, your age and mine and the age of the world are not measured in years.“ Gypsy camp and desert tent – words that evoke the nomadic character of our contemporary lives, between forms of existence and states of time, but also alluding to the fleetingness of time, something Kiefer finds especially relevant to the city of Salzburg.

To quote the artist: „I imagined the space as having fallen into a kind of Sleeping Beauty slumber. Each viewer can awaken the work back to life, like the knight in the fairy-tale kissed Sleeping Beauty awake.“

Kiefer’s contribution to the Salzburg Art Project is titled „A.E.I.O.U.“ This vowel sequence was used by Emperor Frederick III as a reference to his secretly planned imperialistic claims. “Austriae Est Imperare Orbi Universo”. Originating in late-medieval emblematics, it has prompted over 300 interpretations to date. Viewers are challenged to contribute their own readings, and ideally to generate new meanings.

The Artist

Inaugural Addresses (in german)
Peter Iden
Daniel Eccher


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