Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow (NC)
Friday 15 October 2010
The tortured, lugubrious creations of the German artist Anselm Keifer (born 1945) are given a mesmerising showcase in Sophie Fiennes's documentary.
In the 1990s Keifer moved to Barjac, south-west France, and began transforming a derelict silk factory and its grounds into a gigantic series of installations. He and his team unearthed a subterranean complex of tunnels and abandoned chambers, while above them pavilions provided space for his gnarled, forbidding sculptures of wire, ash, concrete and molten lead. Faced with these junkyard apparitions of decay and deliquescence one may find certain implications unavoidable. Floors of shattered glass, extruded teeth, bonfires of books and those ghostly underground corridors cannot help but suggest the hellish afterimages of the Holocaust, a grappling with the Nazi ghost in which Keifer has form: in his twenties he had himself photographed parodically sieg-heiling outside the Colosseum and on the edge of the Mediterranean. Fiennes's camera watches this drama of construction in awe, but without comment; the score by Jörg Widmann and Gyorgy Ligeti keeps a steady line of mournful introspection. Some of his creations, like those of his mentor Joseph Beuys, work better than others. There's a certain rough beauty in liquid lead and broken porcelain, but I couldn't see the point of the tottering concrete towers Keifer places on the quiet pastoral scene outside – as if Europe's landscape lacks for gross industrial defacing. Abandoned pillboxes? A comment on Speer's grandiloquent architecture for the Thousand-Year Reich? Who knows – but I found myself hoping the artist would not leave the site uglier than he found it.
musicReview: Culture Club performs live for first time in 12 years
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Stem cells that can kill cancer have been engineered by scientists
- 2 Ricky Gervais and Dame Judi Dench back campaign to stop Thailand dog meat trade
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Queen's first tweet: Reply telling Her Majesty to 'f*** off' broadcast on BBC News
X Factor 2014: Movie Week sends Jay James and co. into karaoke mode
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
Downton Abbey: Can a lord's best friend last for ever...even if she's called Isis?
Portfolio: Amit and Naroop
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are