“With infinite patience and care, and a sense of how the movie camera can both record and also participate in the process of making art, Sophie Fiennes has directed an intriguing documentary about the work of 65-year-old artist Anselm Kiefer, who in the early 1990s left his native Germany for Barjac in the south of France where he devised an extraordinary artistic living-space: an atelier, an installation complex, an entire created landscape.
“Building almost from the ground up in a derelict silk factory, Kiefer devised an artistic project extending over acres: miles of corridors, huge studio spaces with ambitious landscape paintings and sculptures that correspond to monumental constructions in the surrounding woodland, and serpentine excavated labyrinths with great earthy columns that resemble stalagmites or termite mounds. Nowhere is it clear where the finished product definitively stands; perhaps it is all work in progress, a monumental concept-art organism.
“Fiennes’s movie is almost entirely wordless. Her camera roams around Kiefer’s creations, allowing the audience to focus on light, shape, colour and texture, to music by Jörg Widmann and György Ligeti; this score was arguably a little too exclamatory and overt, but it was a bold expository device…”