Anselm Kiefer review – an apocalyptic epitaph for the liberal age

By Jonathan Jones

White Cube Bermondsey, London
Kiefer's warnings about the frailty of society now look scarily prescient, and his Wagnerian new works suggest the innate violence of nationalism

When critics feel like taking a pop at the spectacularly serious art of Anselm Kiefer, they tend to moan that he is a little bit melodramatic. Throughout his career in a peaceful, affluent, liberal post-1945 Europe, he has wallowed in nightmares from history. His art is loaded with the past, caked with the mud of battles, clogged with ashes of the murdered. He has even posed making a Nazi salute, as if addicted to horrors that some think would be better forgotten. Isn't it all a bit de trop?

Related: When Orhan Pamuk met Anselm Kiefer

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