6 October 2010 Extraordinary presentation of Anselm Kiefer’s painting Das Haar at the National Museum

A major event in this year’s Conrad Festival will be the meeting with 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, the German author of Romanian descent, Herta Müller. Her visit to the city of Wawel will be the first important event of a broad range of discussions, the spiritual patron of which is Paul Celan – a Romanian Jew, who chose a foreign language, for the literature he would create. A perfect context between these two authors is provided by the works of Anselm Kiefer- one of the best-known contemporary German artists. Courtesy of Mrs. Grażyna Kulczyk’s Art Stations Foundation his painting Das Haar will be shown at the National Museum in Krakow. In his canvas, Kiefer refers directly to the poetry of Celan, and it is a perfect complement to the literary dimension of the debate about loneliness, sadness, historic responsibility, the areas of collective memory - topics close to the author of In the Land of Green Plumbs. Anselm Kiefer accepted the invitation to the Conrad Festival, but because of the large retrospective of his work being prepared in New York, he will not be able to appear in person in the city of Wawel.

Das Haar presents a desolate, expansive landscape and a dark, quiet sky. Three chairs are hung on the canvass: on one of them are branches, and on the opposite one a bundle of human hair. The symbolically empty chair in the centre of the composition waits on the viewer, inviting him to take this place at the centre of the image and of history. Sitting with his back to the image, the viewer becomes an integral part of it. The observer is transformed into an inseparable part of the landscape. He is therefore not only a passive observer, but also a witness, confronted with the question of responsibility and the understanding of the Second World War. Das Haar forms a new relationship between the artist and the observer, the viewer and the past, and observed in this time and space demonstrates relationships which we would not have been able to perceive before… This extraordinary work can be admired starting on 5 November (Friday) at the National Museum in Krakow.

Anselm Kiefer (1945) – German painter, sculptor, author of installations, and one of the most important contemporary artists. His works have been presented in the most prestigious museums and galleries in the world, including: MoMA in New York, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the Metropolitan Museum in New, the Royal Academy in London, the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco, and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. He studied art in the universities in Freiburg im Breisgau, Karlsruhe and Düsseldorfie at the studio of Joseph Beuys. His artistic career began as a photographer and performer. He rapidly found his own style, creating both large-format canvasses and extraordinary sculpture objects. The latter, which he first created from lead and later from concrete, brought him international fame. The inspiration for his works is literature, and especially the works of Paul Celan and Ingborg Bachmann. An exhibition of works from his cycle Europe will be on display in Potsdam from October 2 to January 31, 2011.