Exploring London: Anslem Kiefer At White Cube

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

This past Saturday we were lucky enough to catch the Anselm Kiefer show, Walhalla, at White Cube. We hopped on the tube to Bermondsey to meet friends for a day of wandering around. Bermondsey is a great area in London when you're looking for something different and new.White Cube is just one of those spots that pulls people into explore. The gallery had been on my list of places to get to for quite some time now and I'm ashamed it took us so long to finally make our way there. It felt amazing to be there for such a powerful exhibit and has quickly shot up to be one of my top art museums to visit. When I thought about writing this post to share our experience there, I almost decided not to since the exhibit has already passed by now but my hope here is that I can at least get you interested in the gallery itself if you aren't already. I have a feeling there will be plenty more remarkable shows that will be worth making a visit for.

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla / Ansel Kiefer

Sursum corda / Ansel Kiefer

Sursum corda / Ansel Kiefer

Owned by Jay Jopling, White Cube has hopped around locations but is currently finding it's home among three—two in London (Bermondsey and Mason Yard) and one in Hong Kong. Since we've only made it to the Bermondsey one (Hong Kong was just too far to go this weekend), I will keep my focus mostly there. Opening its doors in 2011, White Cube Bermondsey is the largest of the galleries and works as a rotating exhibit space for contemporary art. The gallery is always transforming to keep things new and exciting with works from artist all over the world. During Walhalla, White Cube was sectioned off into seven rooms. Half of the rooms where your typical bright white spaces with concrete floors to let the colors in the works speak to the views. The other half were dimly lit and moody, setting a much darker tone for the exhibit.

Walhalla (left), Thor (center), nubes pluant ustem (right)  / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla (left), Thor (center), nubes pluant ustem (right)  / Ansel Kiefer

Gehautete Landschaft / Ansel Kiefer

Gehautete Landschaft / Ansel Kiefer

Bruhildes Fels (left), Die Walkuren (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Bruhildes Fels (left), Die Walkuren (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Steigend, Steigend sinke nieder (left), Walhalla (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Steigend, Steigend sinke nieder (left), Walhalla (right) / Ansel Kiefer

German painter and sculptor, Anselm Kiefer's works evolve around themes of history, politics, and landscapes with the thought that history is one continuous cycle. In Walhalla, he keeps to this and brings in Norse mythology. Walking into the exhibit you enter a narrow dark hall lined with lead sculptures of beds that give off an institution or military like feel. From there you break off into the six other rooms filled with more sculptures and paintings. His large scale paintings are what pulled me in most during our visit. They are full of texture with a heavy use of mixed mediums carried throughout. The works are cracked, pealing, and explosive with elements like the paint, clay, and shellac reacting against one another. The colors are vibrant and depict a crumbling momentous image. Other rooms have a more symbolic meaning such as the staircase with the discarded clothes hanging from the rails "suggesting loss and the trace of bodies that are no longer there."

Hojotoho, Hojotoho, Heiaha Heiaha (left), Walhalla (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Hojotoho, Hojotoho, Heiaha Heiaha (left), Walhalla (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla (left), Himmelsschlucht (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Walhalla (left), Himmelsschlucht (right) / Ansel Kiefer

Arsenal / Ansel Kiefer

Arsenal / Ansel Kiefer

Philemon in statis / Ansel Kiefer

Philemon in statis / Ansel Kiefer

White Cube exhibited Anselm Kiefer's works perfectly so that the emotions of the work were there to grasp alongside the beautiful detail of it all. While the exhibit has passed, the gallery will reopen on March 1st for Josiah McElheny's The Crystal Land—it's free! Head to their website for more information and hours.