White Cube is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings, sculptures and installations by Anselm Kiefer, which radically transforms the Bermondsey galleries and is testament to the artist's long-standing fascination with James Joyce's literary masterpiece, Finnegans Wake (1939).
‘Anselm Kiefer – Finnegans Wake’ is the culmination of an epic trilogy of exhibitions that Kiefer has made for White Cube Bermondsey, which began with ‘Walhalla’ (2016) and was followed by ‘Superstrings, Runes, The Norns, Gordian Knot’ (2019).
Kiefer was profoundly impacted by Finnegans Wake when he first encountered the novel as a young man. Over the subsequent fifty or so years, Joyce's epic work of fiction has never strayed far from Kiefer’s mind, to the extent that he often sees Finnegans Wake in parallel to his own investigations and struggles. The greatest similarity being the position of both the artist and writer within a historical trajectory that moves both forwards and backwards.
Inscribed throughout the various installations are quotes from the book written in the artist’s distinctive script. Echoing the oscillating quality of time that comes to bear on the novel's structure, Kiefer’s work actively dismantles and resurrects Joycean language. In Kiefer’s world, as in the novel, there is no apparent end or beginning, but rather a constant cycle of death and regeneration – the great existential themes that have long pervaded the artist's work.