Anselm Kiefer Disavows Unauthorized Exhibition In China

The German artist wants the show to be cancelled.

Anselm Kiefer. Photo credit should read ROLF HAID/AFP/Getty Images.

The German painter Anselm Kiefer has disavowed an upcoming survey exhibition of his work at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) claiming that it is being planned without his permission.

“I…am deeply disappointed that it is taking place without my involvement or consent,” Kiefer said in a statement sent to artnet News and other outlets about the show. The exhibition is curated by Beate Riefenscheid and co-organized by CAFA, the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University, Yi Ming Oriental Culture Media, Baijiahu International Cultural Investment Group, and the Bell Art Center in Germany. Billed as the first large-scale retrospective of Kiefer’s work in China, it is set to showcase 87 of Kiefer’s paintings, sculptures, installations, and photographic works created since the 1980s.

Here is Kiefer’s statement in full:

I would like to make clear that I was not consulted about the planned exhibition of my work, Anselm Kiefer in China, and am deeply disappointed that it is taking place without my involvement or consent.

Throughout my career I have been heavily involved in all my major international exhibitions and it is a matter of deep regret and frustration that the organisers of my first show in China have seen fit to exclude me from this process.

Furthermore, it would seem that the organisers have misrepresented my position suggesting that I am endorsing this project. I do not and have written to the organisers to make my position clear and to request that the exhibition is cancelled.

The Chinese audience is an important one to me and I very much hope that I might develop a major survey of my work in China at some point in the future.

In the meantime I cannot support this exhibition in any way and will most certainly not be in attendance.

In a joint statement in support of Kiefer provided to artnet News via email on November 17, Gagosian, Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, and White Cube said:

Anselm Kiefer in China, is planned to take place without the artist’s prior knowledge and against his wishes. Anselm Kiefer has always been fully involved in the selection and organisation of his major international exhibitions. To plan such an important showcase in China without the artist’s input is disrespectful. We can confirm that the artist does not endorse the show and will not be attending.

Individuals at CAFA, Baijiahu, and the Bell Art Center identified as organizers of the exhibition have not responded to our requests for comment.

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