Join us for what the Guardian calls "the most exciting show in Britain this autumn", as Anselm Kiefer takes over our Main Galleries.
Saturday – Thursday 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm
27 September — 14 December Main Galleries, Burlington House £15.50 (without donation £14). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.
Over the last decade, our single artist shows have captured the imagination of the public. Always large in scale, ambitious in scope and astonishing in execution, we’ve seen artists including Anish Kapoor and David Hockney take on our Main Galleries. Now, this autumn, it’s the turn of a man described as "a colossus of contemporary art" to make his mark: Anselm Kiefer.
This will be the most significant exhibition of the German artist’s work ever held in the UK, spanning his entire 40 year career and unveiling new work created in direct response to our spaces.
Kiefer’s extraordinary body of work includes painting, sculpture and quite simply monumental installations. Uncompromising in the subject matter he tackles, Kiefer’s work powerfully captures the human experience and draws on history, mythology, literature, philosophy and science.
Full of brave and provocative work, this exhibition will be a testament to the career of a man driven to confront himself and the audience with the big and complex issues of our world’s past, present and future.
Additionally supported by
Find out what the press are saying
An interview with Anselm Kiefer, ahead of his Royal Academy show – Financial Times
Inside Anselm Kiefer's astonishing 200-acre art studio – The Guardian
Anselm Kiefer, Royal Academy, preview: Is he our greatest living artist? – The Independent
In the Annenberg Courtyard
Velimir Khlebnikov: Fates of Nations: The New Theory of War
Anselm Kiefer often dedicates his works to intriguing figures of the past, be they poets or philosophers. This piece is one of a number of works emerging from Kiefer’s ongoing exploration of the Russian Futurist avant-garde writer, theorist and absurdist Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922).
After years of study, Khlebnikov concluded that a major sea battle took place every 317 years, or multiples thereof. Kiefer celebrates this heroic and ludicrous activity with a work that is both monument and anti-monument. Measuring almost 17 metres in total and consisting of two large glass vitrines, Kiefer creates a transparent, reflective sea-scape in three dimensions that calls to mind the Romantic sublime of painters from JMW Turner to Caspar David Friedrich. Kiefer uses the frames of the vitrines to stage a mysterious drama, in which viewers, seeing each other and their own reflections, become participants.
Talks and tours
Get more out of the exhibition
Free with an exhibition ticket, no booking required.
Friday 7pm (1 October – 5 December)
Exhibition spotlight talks
10 minute talks on individual works from current exhibitions, free with exhibition entry.
Handheld audio guide
Go at your own pace while discovering much more about the context and motivations behind the works on show, with commentary from the curator. You can pre-order your guide when booking tickets online.
Three Academicians' views
Ann Christopher RA
"I look in two ways at his work. Initially, as a viewer, I am compelled by his portrayal of dereliction, his use of a limited palette and the textural qualities of his paintings and sculptures. Secondly, as a sculptor, I am fascinated by the manipulation of so many unexpected materials, often raw and natural – plants, earth and ash – but also brutal materials such as concrete and metal."
David Chipperfield RA
"Kiefer’s monumental architectural paintings explore this theme of the ruin. Along with railway tracks, the forest and the huge textured landscapes, the architectural ruin has been a recurring image and reference in Kiefer’s work. The ruin reminds us of both the temporary nature of our lives and visions and the lasting persistence of the physical, the built – for despite all circumstances and actions, something remains."
Barbara Rae RA
"Brightness, that sharpness, often disappears in painting. When the beholder looks at Kiefer’s imagery they are caught by some of the bright elements held in the dark sections. Their curiosity is sparked. The eye is telling the brain something that is provoking greater interest."