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The Eschaton-Anselm Kiefer Foundation's Journey of Preservation and Inspiration.

Established in 2016 by Anselm Kiefer himself, the nonprofit organization Eschaton-Anselm Kiefer Foundation stands as a guardian of his unparalleled legacy, dedicated to nurturing his artistic vision for generations to come.

At the core of the foundation's mission lies the stewardship of Anselm Kiefer's remarkable archive, meticulously cataloged and preserved for posterity. Every aspect of Kiefer's artistic journey finds a home within these hallowed halls, ensuring that his legacy endures far beyond the confines of time.

However, the foundation's commitment to preserving Kiefer's legacy extends beyond a dusty archive. In December 2020, Kiefer bequeathed his beloved studio-estate in Barjac, France – La Ribaute – to the foundation. La Ribaute served as Kiefer's creative sanctuary from 1992 to 2007, a sprawling canvas upon which his artistic vision unfolded in breathtaking detail.

His arrival marked the genesis of an extraordinary journey, one that would see the transformation of Barjac into a living canvas, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the boundless possibilities of artistic expression.

Upon setting foot in Barjac, Kiefer brought with him remnants of his past, fragments of a life left behind in Germany. Photographs, books, even bits of lead from the storied roof of the Cologne Cathedral – these were the building blocks of his new reality, the raw materials from which his artistic vision would spring forth. With unwavering determination, he embarked on a quest to claim this land as his own, to shape it into something both tangible and transcendent.

The genesis of Kiefer's creative odyssey in Barjac took root underground, in the subterranean depths where light and shadow dance in eternal harmony. Like a modern-day alchemist, he labored tirelessly to unearth the mysteries buried beneath the surface, crafting tunnels that served as conduits for the soul's ascent. Inspired by the esoteric teachings of Jewish mystics, Kiefer envisioned a labyrinthine network of structures – the Seven Heavenly Palaces materialized in brick and mortar, a testament to the indomitable spirit's journey towards enlightenment.

But Barjac was more than just a backdrop for Kiefer's artistic endeavors; it was a muse in its own right, a wellspring of inspiration that fueled his creative fires. The sunflowers, towering sentinels reaching towards the heavens, found new life in his works, their golden petals immortalized on canvas. Tulips, too, lent their ephemeral beauty to his creations, their fleeting existence a poignant reminder of the transient nature of existence.

Amidst the splendor of Barjac's natural bounty, Kiefer sought to confront the boundaries between art and life, to challenge the very essence of existence itself. The collapsed tower of Sternenfall, its shattered form a testament to the fragility of human endeavor, stood as a beacon amidst the landscape, its glass walls serving as a tangible reminder of the tenuous divide between the tangible and the intangible.

And so, as visitors traverse the winding pathways of Barjac, they are invited to embark on a journey of discovery, to explore a world where the ordinary becomes extraordinary, where the mundane gives way to the sublime. Each structure, each installation, is a piece of a larger puzzle, a fragment of a narrative waiting to be unveiled.

For those eager to experience the magic of La Ribaute firsthand, the foundation finally started offering guided tours seasonally in May 2022. These immersive journeys through Kiefer's world must be booked in advance, offering visitors a rare opportunity to explore the hidden depths of his creative universe.

But the foundation's work doesn't end with preserving physical spaces; it also seeks to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, research projects, and educational initiatives, the Eschaton-Anselm Kiefer Foundation strives to ensure that Kiefer's visionary spirit continues to inspire and provoke long into the future.


Words by AW.

Photos courtesy of Charles Depart.


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