Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels,
Specially Conceived by Kiefer for the Dramatic New Museum Space, Opens November 2, 2011, Offering an Unprecedented Experience of His Works on Themes of Jewish History and Mysticism

TEL AVIV, An extraordinary selection of Anselm Kiefer’s monumental paintings, sculptures, woodcuts and installations on themes of Jewish history and mysticism, chosen predominantly from the artist’s own collection, will be presented as the inaugural special exhibition in the new Herta and Paul Amir Building of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Opening to the public on November 2, 2011, in the building’s dramatic 9,000-square-foot gallery for special exhibitions, Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels will feature five new sculptures from the artist’s Women of Antiquity series; five new monumental, mixed-media paintings; three more recent paintings from Kiefer’s own collection, and another two from private collections; three large new woodcuts, each measuring approximately 2 x 3 meters (6.5 x 9.8 feet);  a version of the large-scale installation East-West Diwan; and a new installation, Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels, to be specially created by the artist on site.

Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels
has been organized by the late Professor Mordechai Omer, Director and Chief Curator, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, in collaboration with Anselm Kiefer. The exhibition will remain on view through April 15, 2012 in the new 195,000-square-foot Herta and Paul Amir Building, designed by architect Preston Scott Cohen. A landmark addition to the main complex of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art—the leading museum of modern and contemporary art in Israel—the Amir Building provides large, well-proportioned galleries for temporary exhibitions and works from the permanent collection (principally Israeli art, architecture and design, prints and drawings and photography) within a spectacular, continually unfolding public space.

“Anselm Kiefer is among the most important artists in the world today,” Mordechai Omer wrote, “one whose bold confrontations with the history and myths of his native Germany have been enriched by his profound engagement with the Hebrew Bible and Jewish traditions. It is an honor to collaborate with him in this unique exploration of his Jewish themes—an exhibition that can be experienced only here in our astonishing new building, and that testifies to both the special character and the international scope of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.”
Among the subjects addressed in the works in Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels are the stories of Biblical figures such as Cain and Abel, Noah and Samson; the Kabbalistic ideas of the “tree of Sephirot” (or emanations of God) and the shattering of a formerly unified world (shevirat ha-kelim, or the breaking of the vessels); Isaac Abravanel, the 15th-century Biblical scholar and statesman who was forced from Spain in the expulsion of 1492; and Paul Celan, the Romanian-born, German-language Jewish poet who survived the Holocaust and was one of the first in the post-war era to write about these experiences.

Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donauschingen, Germany, at the close of World War II, and studied art informally under Joseph Beuys at the Düsseldorf Academy in the early 1970s. His work has been shown in and collected by major museums throughout the world. Recent major exhibitions include a retrospective at the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth (2005), traveling to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., and SF MOMA; an extensive survey of recent work at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2007); and the commission to create a huge, site-specific installation of sculptures and paintings for the inaugural Monumenta at the Grand Palais, Paris (2007). Also in 2007, Kiefer became the first living artist since Georges Braque (in 1953) to create a permanent installation at the Louvre. In 2009, he directed and designed the sets for Am Anfang (In the Beginning) at the Opéra National in Paris.
Kiefer’s connection with Jewish heritage and Israel was recognized in 1990 when he was awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize in the Arts. He used the entirety of the $100,000 prize money to establish the Ingeborg Bachmann Scholarship for young Israeli artists.

Anselm Kiefer lives and works in France.

Checklist: Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels
Als Arche verließ es die Strasse so wächst Du gerecht ins Unheil, 2006, 280 x 380 cm (110 x 150 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer
Ararat, 2011, 280 x 500 x 26 cm (110 x 197 x 10 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Für Paul Celan, Aschenblume, 2006, 330 x 760 cm (130 x 300 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Isaac Abravanel: das Gastmahl des Leviathan – Hiob 4041 – für Carl Schmitt, 2005, 380 x 560 cm (150 x 220 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Kain und Abel, 2011, Oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, chalk, charcoal, salt, lead on canvas 380 x 380 cm (150 x 150 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.

Noah, 2011, Oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, charcoal and leadboat on canvas, 280 x 560 cm (110 x 220 in.). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Das Salz der Erde, 2011, Oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, chalk, charcoal, salt, lead and iron object on canvas, 380 x 560 cm (4 elements of 190 x 280 cm) (150 x 220 in. total). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Samson, 2011, Oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, charcoal, chalk, lead, metal object and palm leaves on canvas, 280 x 380 cm (110 x 150 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Schwarze Flocken, 2006, 330 x 570 cm (130 x 224 in). Grothe Collection, Bonn.
Sefer Hechaloth. 2002, 375 x 330 cm (148 x 130 in). Gunzburg Collection, London.

Five sculptures from the series Les femmes de l’antiquité (Women of Antiquity). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Femme 52 White Books, 2011. Resin, metal, glass, 178 x 145 x 150 cm (70 x 57 x 59 in)
Femme 53 Melancolia, 2011. Resin, metal, 190 x 140 x 140 cm (75 x 55 x 55 in)
Femme 54 Phryne, 2011. Resin, lead, 185 x 150 x 160 cm (73 x 59 x 63 in)
Femme 55 Regina  Coeli, 2011. Resin, metal, 210 x 230 x 190 cm (83 x 90 x 75 in)
Femme 56 with Kaballah Tree, 2011. Resin, metal, glass, 305 x 150 x 140 cm (120 x 59 x 55 in)

3 new works, each 200 x 300 cm (79 x 118 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.

East-West Diwan, 2010, 2 sets of 27 panels, each 190 x 140cm (75 x 55 in). Collection: Anselm Kiefer.
Shevirat Ha-Kelim: The Breaking of the Vessels, 2011. Site-specific installation. Glass, dimensions variable.

Tel Aviv Museum of Art

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Foto: Cosmin Năsui