Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945. After training first in law and linguistics he decided instead to study art at the School of Fine Arts at Fribourg-in-Brisgau, and the Art Academy in Karlsruhe. Directly influenced by Joseph Beuys, he began to work with unusual organic materials such as plant matter, dirt and lead, creating cracked and desolate landscapes. Reminiscent of abandoned and barren fields, his work strongly references Germany’s bleak history and fragmented post-war identity.
Recognised for their sculptural materiality and visual complexity, Kiefer’s canvases are also densely layered with a powerful synthesis of ideas from alchemy to ancient Teutonic myth. Balancing extreme imagery with acute critical analysis, he has recently focused on the more philosophical themes of belief and existence.
The artist currently lives and works in southern France.