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The secret life of plants, 2001-2002

Anselm Kiefer
Branches, plaster, wire and lead on canvas
190 x 560 x 25 cm


The earth and the sky joined together. The Secret Life of Plants celebrates this epiphany. The awareness that each lifeform on Earth has a counterpart in the cosmos, under the guise of a star.

Developed by Robert Fludd, a 17th century English thinker, this theory left its mark on the artist. Here, on Earth, is not the thing in itself. It has a profound effect on his work. It deploys the pending constellation of a branch, which leaves the gravity of the lead surface by deciding on its metamorphosis. Anselm Kiefer creates in the light of the inscrutable vastness.


Matter in a space. This could constitute both a lighting definition of the universe and of an Anselm Kiefer painting or installation.

The matter which the artist has focused on since the late 60s is multiple, and includes dried plants, plaster, soil, ashes, lead, but also concrete, glass, barbed wire, and, above all, thoughts; the thoughts of the poets, writers and philosophers that guide him, transform him and are a prerequisite in the advent of his approach. All this matter works, proceeds secretly, settles, accumulates, experiences variations, like atoms, ions and molecules, until it reaches its stabilisation or its breaking point on vast formats or over vast surfaces. Indeed, the moment of the fall, foreseen, inevitable, is inseparable from its pursuit. Like stars that come to life and die, explode, smoulder, shatter, return to matter, which, in turn, clusters, coagulates to form a new star, a cycle he praises and respects. In 2007, on the occasion of the the Monumenta exhibition held at the Grand Palais, he had in fact chosen the title Fallen Stars to give form to his world. But the fall is also the fall of Man. Historical. In order to prevent it, his landscapes, created under the impulse of original fear, surrender to sublimation, seized by a spiritual and cosmic strength that disrupts and reboots everything. In spite of failure, transformation is at work, challenged by memory and that which has not occurred, that which is not known. By everything that one has yet to discover, reveal and understand.

Exhibition Poussières d’étoiles (Stardust)
From 24th May to 15th Decembre 2018
Under the creative guidance of Garance Primat
Curators: Hervé Mikaeloff et Ingrid Pux.