Anselm Kiefer: à La Tourette

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A NS E L M KIE FE R

À LA TOURE TTE

ANSE L M K I EF ER À LA T O U R E T T E

Bernard Chauveau Édition

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A NS E LM KIEFER à La Tourette

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Le Couvent Sainte-Marie de La ToureƩe ParƟe de

Published on the occasion of the exhibition Anselm Kiefer à La Tourette Le Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, Éveux, France September 14–December 11, 2019 Exhibition curator: Brother Marc Chauveau, Dominican This exhibition is mounted as part of the 15th Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France, with which it is associated, and adds to the dynamic of a building designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, representing what the World Heritage Committee describes as “the architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the modern movement.” The convent of La Tourette is one of the seventeen buildings, in seven countries, by Le Corbusier included in the list of World Heritage Sites. This publication is part of an ongoing initiative launched on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the convent of La Tourette in 2009: contemporary artists are invited to establish a dialogue between their work and Le Corbusier’s architecture.

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A NSELM KI EFER À L A TOURETTE

Bernard Chauveau

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ORDRE DES PRÊCHEURS Province de France

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TABLE O F C O NT E NT S

PR E FACE Brother Marc Chauveau 9

DIA RY O F A JO U R NEY RONCHAMP/LA TOURETTE SEPTEMBER 1966 Anselm Kiefer 15

PHO TO G R APHY APRIL 2018 Anselm Kiefer 51

PLATE S Installation views, paintings, and sculptures 77

Books 161

BIOGRAPHY 191

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 196

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It is an honor to present the English-language edition of Anselm Kiefer à La Tourette. The original edition, published in French and German, offers a unique contribution to the current literature and scholarship on this great artist. One of the many things that make the book special is that it marks the first time that Anselm Kiefer has made his early writings available to an English-speaking audience. In these texts he describes his journey, as a twenty-one-year-old, to Le Corbusier’s two great religious masterpieces: the Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France, and the Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, Éveux, France. We can see the artist even back then seeking to reconcile the human with the divine, engaging in a pursuit that continues to charge his work today. Half a century later, at the invitation of Brother Marc Chauveau and the monks who live and study at La Tourette, Kiefer has created a series of haunting and poetic installations throughout the indoor and outdoor spaces of the monastery. With his sunflower sculpture Résurrection in the chapel; the three female Martyrs who guard the rooftops; and the great sea painting Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?, with its lead book in the refectory, the artist has energized every area of this sacred space. While this location is remarkable for many reasons, its exclusivity is part of what makes it so memorable. Because many viewers may not have the opportunity to see the works firsthand, we hope that this book, along with the French and German edition, will stand as a permanent record of a truly remarkable collaboration. Larry Gagosian

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PRE FACE A Bit of History . . . More than an exhibition catalogue, this is above all a book that recounts the story of a man’s encounter with a place—specifically, Anselm Kiefer’s encounter with the Convent of La Tourette in Éveux, France. For us, it all began when we first read about Kiefer’s time spent at La Tourette in 1966. Wanting to understand Le Corbusier’s architecture, the artist lived here for two weeks, sharing in the strict monastic life with the friars residing there at a time when the convent was still closed to the public. Back then, the building housed the studium, having been conceived as a place of learning and residence for Dominican friars studying in the Lyon region. Within Le Corbusier’s walls of concrete and light, in step with the monastic rhythm, might Kiefer’s experience have been connected to the artistic trajectory he was pursuing at the time, which had begun with his studies at the Kunstakademie in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany? It is an open question, but we now know toward what creative development that education would lead. Anselm Kiefer kept a journal during his time at La Tourette and his visit at Ronchamp, France. He has agreed to allow certain excerpts be published here for the first time. In his journal, he recounts, with the keen eye of a sensitive witness, his impressions of monastic life—the rhythm of religious life, the spaces in which he was living, his friar’s cell—as well as his reflections on Le Corbusier’s work. He especially notes the unique way in which the architect integrated his building into the landscape and placed it in dialogue with the surrounding natural environment. The distant horizon and the cloud-filled skies as seen from the refectory particularly struck him. The artist took the time to live inside the architecture, to experience it, understand it, master it. He would later say that it was in this place that he recognized the “spirituality of concrete”—a material which we know has an important role in his oeuvre. He also paid great attention to the play of shadow and light—specifically to the way in which Le Corbusier staged light throughout the spaces. In reading Kiefer’s journal, one can sense that the experience left a vital impression on what would become his own creative work. Consider the dark corridor beneath the church, extending from the sacristy and leading to the crypt illuminated by three cannons of light—a passage from dark to light, marvelously orchestrated by Le Corbusier. Does not that play of contrast between obscurity and the zenith of light strongly echo the underground passages in Barjac, France, that connect rooms radiant with shafts of light? Astonished by what we had learned, we invited Anselm Kiefer to return to La Tourette. And so, in 2018—fifty-two years after his first visit—he returned twice

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to the place that had so impressed him. He met once again the convent’s friars, and reminisced about his 1966 sojourn with two of them from his generation, who also had known the lifestyle back then. During his latest visits, Kiefer took numerous photographs, some of which we are pleased to publish in this book, and which offer his perspective on the convent’s architecture. La Tourette: An Engagement with Contemporary Art Kiefer’s recent visits allowed him the chance to learn about the role that art has been playing at La Tourette over the past ten years, a role that reflects the Dominican friars’ resolve to have the convent be purposefully open to today’s world, especially to contemporary art. Besides preserving and conserving a remarkable architectural heritage, our endeavor is also to use exceptional resources that bring us into contact—and dialogue—with various audiences. We not only welcome students of architecture, but also offer artists the opportunity to install and create work that resonates with Le Corbusier’s architecture. The audacity that our fellow friars displayed when they chose Le Corbusier more than a half century ago—an audacity that Kiefer, as a student, fully understood, as one learns from his 1966 writings— persists today through exhibitions organized and conceived of as meeting grounds for art, thought, and life. Anselm Kiefer immediately recognized how unique La Tourette’s program is in the French art world. The site appeals to original expressions emerging from the unique alliance between spiritual life and contemporary art. The challenge of such exhibitions is to foster a genuine encounter between an artist and the location—the latter being a site of remarkable architecture kept alive by the community which inhabits it and for which it had been conceived. In the exhibitions that have taken place here in recent years, the artworks exhibited have effortlessly found a home in the building and enter into a rich dialogue with its architecture. What ensued were fresh perspectives, both on Le Corbusier’s work and on the pieces introduced into and conceived of in his spaces. The consonance between a living spiritual site, the convent’s architectural power, and the artistic force of selected works has turned each exhibition into a unique experience. The pieces are not exhibited in the convent; rather, they “inhabit” it. They take on additional meaning in a space that is already inhabited. Following Kiefer’s visits to the convent and my sojourn to his studios in Croissy and Barjac, a selection of work gradually came into focus. That time together was special and intense. The profuse originality of his oeuvre can be discovered at the

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convent through the diversity of works exhibited: installations, sculptures, paintings, vitrines, books. A Journey through the Art Let us begin a journey through the convent with the piece titled Résurrection (2019), a vast installation originally placed in the nave of the church. Enormous blocks of concrete break apart and sunflowers emerge in the midst of chaos. The piece majestically unfolds within the volume of the church. The contrast between the rigor of the walls and the chaotic upheaval of the concrete blocks is striking. In that upheaval, one inevitably sees tombs opening, and in the surge of sunflowers, the spring of life; the dead arise! Near the altar, Le Corbusier’s metal cross, a structure normally so discreet that one might overlook it, is planted directly into the slate floor and takes on astonishing visibility due to the presence of the sunflowers planted at the center of the blocks. In the very back of the church, behind the piece and through the stalks of sunflowers, one can better see a red square: this is the wall of the confessional. Thus, from the stalls where religious services are celebrated with the congregation, one’s eye immediately takes in the entire altar at the center of the church, a place where we recall the death and resurrection of Christ. This view includes the sunflowers of Résurrection, which seem to spring up from the altar; then the cross planted into the floor on the side; and, finally, at the back, the red wall of the confessional, its color symbolizing the Passion. Each element seems to connect to the others: the Passion, the altar that recalls the eucharistic sacrifice, the cross, and, at the heart of it all, Kiefer’s Résurrection. And so the piece finds its rightful home in the church, not only aesthetically, but also liturgically significant. In transforming a space, art has the power to impress new meaning upon the context with which it is dealing. The power of Le Corbusier’s religious architecture is such that it enriches exhibited artwork with new perspectives. The same is true for the large painting installed in the refectory, the landscape of which, inspired by the Tyrolean mountains, is an echo of the mountains of the Lyon and Beaujolais region visible through Iannis Xenakis’s large windowpanes. These look out onto the valley and the neighboring blue-tinged mountains in the distance. The dialogue between oeuvre and landscape has thus been established. A massive lead book has been hung in front of the painting. It can be seen as an allusion to the recto tono recitations read by a friar during the meals, which were taken in silence at the time the artist was staying at the convent. This is a memory that Kiefer mentions in his 1966 account.

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The book as a theme, very present in his oeuvre, can also be found in the sculpture Danaé (2019). Placed in the atrium, a central place of convergence at the convent, the sculpture of a large sunflower showers down golden seeds that seem to have fertilized the lead books at its foot. A more unusual dialogue between artwork and architecture might very well be the installation of three sculptures of women on the garden terraces atop the large vents at the center of the convent. They stand before glass walls—Xenakis’s undulating panes and Mondrian-inspired panels—and also in front of the wall of the church. The representation of female figures is recurrent in Kiefer’s work, which includes groups of illustrious women, notably women from antiquity and, more recently, women martyrs. For the artist, these figures speak both of feminine gentleness and power. The sculptures of the two women martyrs installed at La Tourette—Saint Apollonia and Saint Agatha—bear the instruments of the agony the women endured when they did not renounce their faith. The third sculpture, titled Ave Maria, virgo purissima (2018), is a more allusive depiction of the Virgin Mary, through the symbol of the serpent. Mary, as the new Eve, crushes the serpent from Genesis, the symbol of the intrusion of evil into mankind. Placed on the roof terraces and in front of the large church wall, and small in comparison to the monumental architecture, the sculptures appear to depict Christian heroines in an ancient tragedy, standing as if onstage at a theater, proclaiming their unfaltering faith with grace and resolve, even in the face of death. As viewers of this tragedy, how can we not be summoned by these women—they alone at the front of the stage, and we, the viewers, at a distance, as in Rembrandt’s Ecce Homo (1634), an engraving in which Christ appears in great solitude before a crowd? Other works by Kiefer become part of the chapter hall and accompany the friar’s life: six mural vitrines from his major piece Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday, 2007). They evoke Palm Sunday, a Christian feast commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The inscriptions in different languages speak of the universality of cultures, united by a single ideal. In these vitrines, palms are planted in a dry, cracking earth; one also finds a delicate lily in the vitrine devoted to the Virgo Maria. The marks of poetry, fragility, and delicacy pervade. Anselm Kiefer also decided to install a significant group of vitrines presenting essentially biblical themes: paradise lost, Moses, the copper serpent, Jacob wrestling with the angel, God offering descendants to Abraham, and Saint John’s Night. A large vitrine had captured our attention at his studio: a hanging scale with two trays, one bearing a heart, the other a feather. The title provided by the artist is very clear: this is about the Egyptian goddess Maat-Ani. But the theme of the scale, which evokes the weighing of the souls, can also be found on cathedral tympana depicting the Last Judgment.

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Another room at the convent presents a large maquette with impressive constructions in cement and plaster that fill the whole space. Apparently unstable towers, underground passages, staircases, corridors, and collapsed shapes give form to this piece. The artist has named it Heiliges Jerusalem (Heavenly Jerusalem, 2007–19), the paradoxical title standing in contrast to this landscape of ruins. Amid the desolation, the piece recalls the eschatological hope of the book of Revelation: at the end of time, Christ will make all things new. In conclusion, let us emphasize what might give evidence to the influence of the convent’s concrete, in its Corbusian arrangement, on Anselm Kiefer—who is so receptive to that “spirituality of concrete.” Were the raw concrete walls, with their imperfections of texture and surface, their rough edges and drips, an inspiration for Kiefer? In Barjac, can one not see in several concrete pieces an echo of La Tourette; or in that spill of mud through a door a reference to the terrain pouring down beneath the convent’s pilotis? No, it was not an influence, but rather a confluence—a communion with inspiration. As for Kiefer’s large, collapsing towers in the Barjac landscape, they invite us to reflect with melancholy on the theme of the ruin. La Tourette—which is by no means a ruin—remains, despite its power, an architectural structure that one senses is fragile, vulnerable. It is incumbent upon each of us to question the role we play. Brother Marc Chauveau, OP La Tourette, July 2019

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DI ARY O F A JO U RNE Y RON CHA M P/LA TO U R E TTE S E P T E M B E R 196 6 Anselm Kiefer As the train was crossing the Rhine, there happened to be a steamboat under the bridge heading upstream. After the bridge, the train proceeded toward Strasbourg along a somewhat elevated causeway, so that you continuously found yourself at the level of the rooftops on either side. Then the causeway became lower and the houses gained in height. You could already see a few skyscrapers in the suburbs, then on the left, a sports stadium surviving from a time when Strasbourg was not yet surrounded by such tall buildings. The tracks began to branch, the train ran slowly over switches, and the tangle of tracks stretched outward on both sides— advance notice of the train station. There, I checked my bags for L’Arbresle. During the nearly two-hour stopover, I took a walk, in the direction of the cathedral, into the city. When I returned, the train was already waiting, a very long express heading for Ventimiglia and passing through Lourdes. Half the train was reserved for pilgrims, some of whom were to board there in Strasbourg, others only along the way, in Belfort, Besançon, or Lyon. Since I only wanted to ride as far as Belfort, I was able to find a seat in a car reserved from just there on. From the train, you have a wholly different relationship with the landscape than from an automobile. When riding in a car there is not the same distance from the landscape, for the car adapts to it more than the train can, negotiating tight curves, climbing steep hills. With its monotonous progress the train becomes a law unto itself, aloof to the passing landscape. On arriving in Belfort, I immediately set out for Ronchamp. Luckily, a Citroën soon stopped for me. The driver had known Le Corbusier, had eaten lunch with him in Lure, a village not far from Ronchamp, when the architect was building his chapel. He said that Le Corbusier had spoken a great deal and quite well. It is remarkable that, in your search for direct contact, you take a special interest in anyone who is known to have seen the man you can no longer meet, even though he relates only the typical anecdotes. You keep searching for something to hold onto, to tie an image to. A higher form of fetishism. Just before you enter the village of Ronchamp, you can already see the chapel up above. Even from this distance you can make out something of its form.

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After I had eaten something, I headed up the mountain. It was a little after three thirty. When I first glimpsed the chapel, I was somewhat astonished, for the pictures of it had led me to imagine it as being very different. With pictures, the chore of selecting a vantage point has already been done for you, and of course, on seeing something yourself, you can’t immediately hit upon such a favorable angle. But that quickly passed, and I was soon far more impressed than I had been by the pictures. As you change your point of view, you discover endless different combinations of forms. Even with the slightest change of distance, you get a wholly different sense of it, just as with any change in elevation, to which uneven terrain provides ample opportunity. You can’t pin down anything about the chapel, because any slight change in your position reveals startling and unsuspected shifts in form—an ideal sculpture. In my further observations relating to this structure, I don’t mean to proceed systematically, for a diary isn’t necessarily a place for logical development; it is meant to register the moment. And here, it is difficult to describe anything in

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general; you have to limit yourself to successive detail views. This way, you also free yourself somewhat from the pillar-of-salt stupor that overcomes you at the sight of such beauty—for “beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure.”1 And here, any crude description has to seem like the joke meant to break the spell in an awkward situation; so that it doesn’t overwhelm you, you talk about it as a way of gaining control. The two atriums are spots where the architecture ceases to be a structure, a sculpture, or some kind of dwelling; it is pure idea. You don’t immediately see them, for on entering, you naturally look first toward the main altar and its immediate surroundings. But then, by chance, you turn around, step a bit to the side, and suddenly there’s no longer anything above you; a few steps farther and you find yourself standing in the open. There’s nothing above, but an inexpressibly gentle light falls on you. Nothing else, for you can’t see anything looking up. You once more look ahead, or rather downward, as if searching for clarity, and there is an altar, a small, perfectly simple rectangle with identical sides and a flat top, with two candlesticks, one on each end. They look almost black in the flood of light from above. Lifeless. You now step back a bit, since you’ve gone too far, not knowing what was there, and you try to see it from a distance. Now you understand it better: the course of the light, how it enters; it’s no longer omnipresent but rather flowing, flowing downward. Before this, light had always been simply illumination; here it has become light per se, and suddenly takes on direction. Outside stand two large semicylindrical structures, capped at the top, as tall as towers; there, light is captured by the rough concrete. On its long downward journey, it becomes accustomed to its path. It trickles gently along the walls of the concrete shaft, the top of which isn’t visible from inside but that directs light onto the altar with its two candlesticks, like a light shaft in a mine. It is a subtle but powerful effusion of light, perhaps like that of a glacial cave; or you think of vast snowfields untouched by a human footprint, onto which there is an endless fall of tiny crystals. This light creates solitude. The candles with their holders and the altar are isolated; the whole space is left to itself in its light. It is a bit like the modern Bayreuth staging of the scene in which Tristan and Isolde embrace, namely an emptiness in which the two are wholly set apart from the world around them. The solitude of Moses in the face of the burning bush? One of such privilege and hazard? No, for this is not solitude in the face of anything; it is not forced. It is simply light, light captured in a tower. No one is fussing at this altar in the abundance of light. You couldn’t wish for release from the solitude of this lightfilled space, for it is so lovely here. For this solitude rejoices in itself, desires itself, extends its desolation, and is sacred in its simplicity. A sacrificial stone onto which

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1. Rainer Maria Rilke, “The First Elegy” (1912), in Duino Elegies, trans. Stephen Mitchell (Boston: Shambhala, 1992). [For the reader’s convenience, footnotes have been provided. Notes compiled by Brother Marc Chauveau.]

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2. Anselm Kiefer is adapting a verse from a poem by Rilke titled “Narcissus,” in which the subject is not feminine but masculine, since it is Narcissus himself. “Whatever emanated from him he loved back into himself.” See Rainer Maria Rilke, “Narcissus” (1913), in A Year with Rilke, ed. and trans. Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows (New York: HarperCollins, 2009).

nothing falls but this light. Where is the sacrifice? I don’t think this chapel is meant to be used for any sacrament. It is too detached for that. “Whatever emanates from it, it loves back into itself.”2 Because this light shaft is so incomprehensible, extends so far above you as you stand beneath it, would you say that it is somewhat Gothic? No, here there are no two lines creating this height that converge and then appear to shoot farther into the infinite; here it is not what is missing, here there is no upward yearning. What is wanted comes from above. Would it not be even more effective if you were to remove the small altar with the little candlesticks and leave nothing here at all? Hardly, for just as you need minimal light to view an eclipse of the sun, it is here, at the altar with its two candles, that you are able to sense the claim of this immensity. This atrium strikes me as the key to so much about this structure. I spent a lot of time there, observing it when the sunlight entered at different angles. Also at twilight, when the light was not so bright, to be sure, but perhaps for that reason

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was channeled downward all the better by the hollow tower. What makes this structure so very independent, of no particular use—least of all for the liturgy, is its floor, which actually isn’t one. The ground the walls rise up from is uneven, not simply wavy as in an ancient church where the earth beneath it has settled or where the stone slabs have been worn down. No, the ground swells in a daringly conceived curve that echoes the walls and ceiling (if these designations are remotely applicable here). The venerable scheme in which the walls enclosing a space rise up from a flat floor, parallel to the earth’s surface, has here been abandoned. This chapel obeys rules, but only those it makes itself. The floors and the ceiling, the walls, the window openings—everything is interrelated to an exquisite degree. But the structure as a whole lifts away from the carpet of tradition and floats, unsupported, by itself. Through a few very tiny windows you glimpse a couple of gently rounded mountains in the distance, as though from a great height. It is a feeling like the one Nietzsche describes on reading Heraclitus, when it seemed to him that an earthquake was passing over the world and nothing was solid any longer. That everything was in motion, and countless things were jumbled on top of each other in the great flux. The chapel is a sculpture that creates its own space, the beauty of which is not displayed on a pedestal, for there is no foundation supporting it. It draws its foundation into itself and sets it in motion; for who can hold what cannot hold its own self, but only, now and then, will blissfully catch itself, then quickly throw itself away, like a child playing with a ball. As little as a captain can hold the carved Nike facing outward from his ship’s prow when the lightness of her godhead suddenly lifts her up, into the bright sea-wind.3 It is a bit of a shame that this chapel is so overrun by visitors. There is a constant stream of tour buses filled with people who call to each other and gesticulate wildly inside the chapel, who carry on conversations, or strike up previously rehearsed songs. The majority of them are Germans. One tour guide sang brief liturgical passages very well and unobtrusively. You could hear how splendid the chapel’s acoustics are. The same guide opened the large entry door, which is normally locked against the flood of visitors. The door, flanked by enamel paintings by Le Corbusier, is very elegantly balanced, and serves as a prominent spot of color in the chapel. The paintings appear to be a little like two-dimensional summations of the sculpture on which they are mounted. They are more beautiful than many of Le Corbusier’s pictures, which are at times reminiscent of colored ground plans.

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3. Rainer Maria Rilke, “Requiem for a Friend” (1909), in Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry and Prose of Rainer Maria Rilke (New York: Modern Library, 1995). Rilke wrote the poem to memorialize Paula Modersohn-Becker.

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Their colors are stronger and more tactile than those of the small embrasure windows. That color is both restrained and diffuse, but still fills the entire space and lends warmth to rough concrete that is in itself essentially cold. With their faux-naive painting, these small stained-glass windows serve as a conciliatory balance to the truly affecting light shaft in the background. Behind the altar table are very small openings that sparkle like stars from the flow of light through such tiny passageways. They almost look like offshoots of the large, rectangular window that backs the Madonna statue. To the right of the altar stands a cross that is exquisite in its simplicity. It is immediately effective, for it is man-size, as if it could be used at any time. After seven, it was time to leave. I looked back at the chapel once again, from somewhat farther away, at the side with the large entry door, the prow, where the roof comes to a point in front. Here, as in many places in this architecture, one especially notes a certain tenacity and permanence, despite the obvious daring of its individual forms. It frequently retracts an established sweep, as here, where the roof soars upward like a ship’s prow riding a powerful wave, and where to complete this impression, the wall one would think of as a keel would have to stand at a sharp

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angle to the roof. But that’s not how it is: the wall does not lead the elevated prow, but serves as a brake to the form, one that helps bring back to earth a magnificently prepared formal flight. The paucity of wall openings at this spot as opposed to where there is still a rising sweep (namely farther left) indicates a return to material substance, and serves the same purpose of retracting the otherwise too expansive curve—like a headstrong little girl who becomes impatient with her hairdresser and angrily shakes her head and destroys the new curls. At seven thirty, I hiked back down to Ronchamp, where I missed the train for Belfort. I flagged down a car for a ride to the station. The driver was an architect; he was not heading for Belfort but made a small detour for my sake. The next train to Lyon was not to leave until nine thirty, so I had a wait of an hour and a half. I took a seat in the waiting room, which was not at all as dismal looking as many others, and read a book. The train to Ventimiglia had no more room. But at the back there were two through coaches for Dijon that were completely empty. I decided to ride in one of these as far as Dijon and then transfer to another for Lyon. There was no light in those cars, so I could easily look out on the moonlit

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landscape, and now and again we passed a faintly lit station with a great clatter. In Dijon I got off that train and boarded another one, hoping that it would be less crowded. In the very last car, where no one else had boarded, I spied a fold-down conductor’s seat under the hand brake and sat in it. From Dijon the train proceeded nonstop to Lyon-Perrache. There I had more than three hours to wait. I first drank a coffee in the buffet. There were a number of travelers sleeping there, resting their heads on their arms. Others were eating, drinking, or reading newspapers or novels illustrated in the manner of comic strips. I then went back out onto the platform and watched the arriving and departing trains. Slowly, the day dawned, and already, by a quarter to six, early light struck the high-vaulted glass roof. The panes of glass took on delicate shades of gray that in their subtle gradations made me think of the gray tones in Toulouse-Lautrec. Where the platform ended and the roof allowed a glimpse of the landscape, I could see a tiny patch of steel-blue morning sky, which in its clarity, in contrast to the dull

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lighting of the station, seemed exquisite and luxurious. Nearby buildings were still backlit, so they appeared in silhouette without volume. From Lyon, I took a suburban train for not quite three quarters of an hour, as far as L’Arbresle, and from there went on foot to Éveux, a small village two kilometers away. From Éveux, you have a magnificent view of L’Arbresle down below and the rising slopes beyond. Two kilometers from Éveux you come to a low wall that runs as a broad curve around the hill. Where the road passes through the wall there are two little structures right and left, probably porters’ lodges. So here were the monastery grounds. I was excited. After a few curves in the road, [I] passed a small pond that, at the time, held little water, and then entered a lovely old allée that was almost like a tunnel. There was a sign reading “No Photography Allowed,” and I soon saw an irregular concrete tower looming up above the trees. I didn’t stop to get a better look at the whole structure, but walked on up to the main door, where I said to the frère portier4: “Je m’appelle Anselm Kiefer. Je suis l’étudiant allemand à qui le père Vicaire a offert un séjour au couvent.”5 He telephoned the office of the père hôtelier,6 who wasn’t there, whereupon he led me upstairs and showed me my cell himself. So the cell was the first part of the monastery I was able to study more closely. It is strangely quiet here; you don’t hear a thing, either in the corridor or next door. One reason being that the floors in the corridors and in the cells themselves have a rubber covering that yields slightly under your step. At first it is an unpleasant feeling walking on it, as if you were wearing rubber bathing shoes. Despite its extremely small size, the cell is very comfortable, and you feel at home in it immediately, whether seated at the table, moving about, or lying on the bed. Its furnishings include a cupboard dividing the toilet area from the living space. The bed backs up against this cupboard, and at its foot there are other shelves that extend nearly to the table, which stands in front of the window. Outside the window is a balcony, which is as high and wide as the cell itself. Here the concrete has been left unfinished, so you still see the wood grain of the formwork. The interior of the cell has been whitewashed, so that it looks like there are small dripstones in bas-relief. The furniture, the doorframes, and the door itself are plain, solid wood. The window glass is set directly into the concrete. The cell holds only what one needs, nothing decorative. But such consistently observed poverty has something poetic about it, and even the drainpipe in the corner takes on a special ornamental air that would not be appreciated in any other space, no matter where. It is surprising to find that you are not tempted to change a thing, and there’s nothing

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4. The passages in italics are in French in the original text. Here: “doorkeeper brother” or “brother porter.” 5. “I am Anselm Kiefer, the German student the curate invited to stay at the priory.” 6. “doorkeeper father” or “father hosteler” or “guest master”

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you could do without. The cell is like a garment that you find to be miraculous, but when you examine it to determine why that is, you discover that there is nothing unusual about it at all. It is said that it is ingenious. But what is ingenious about the cell is not only its spartan simplicity, but also the fact that though surprisingly long—including the balcony, four times as long as it is wide—it doesn’t feel like a tunnel like so many uncomfortable spaces with less extreme ratios of length to width; it must have to do with its modular proportions. I will have to check this out in his book The Modulor. But then it will have lost the intrigue of the unexamined. After eating breakfast, I put my things in the cupboard, and then it was time for mass, which begins at eleven thirty. The times are as follows: horaire conventuel Laudes 7:40 Messe conventuelle concélébrée 11:30 Déjeuner 12:30 None – vêpres – oraison 18:30 Dîner 19:30 Complies – matines 20:30 Le petit-déjeuner peut être pris jusqu’à 8:307 7. Priory schedule: Lauds 7:40 a.m.; concelebrated priory mass 11:30 a.m.; lunch 12:30 p.m.; ninth hourvespers-oration 6:30 p.m.; dinner 7:30 p.m.; compline-matins 8:30 p.m.; breakfast served until 8:30 a.m.

After mass, lunch is served in the refectory, the largest space in the monastery after the church. The tables are arranged in a circle around the edge [of the room]. At the front, before the entrance to the cafeteria line, there is a small pulpit, from

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8. Arthur M. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965). Schlesinger was an American historian and adviser to John F. Kennedy.

which there are readings in tonus rectus during the meal. When I was there, they were reading the Kennedy book A Thousand Days.8 All of this—the size of the hall, the circular arrangement of the tables, and the broad view of the landscape spread before the diner, interrupted by only a few small trusses— reminded me of the Gospel story of the feeding of ten thousand. Especially the tonus rectus in which the reading was given, whose consistent monotone in the large, highly clinical space with its vast view appeared as though spoken above a landscape in which this uniform, sacral, authoritative tone took on the air of a magisterial pronouncement, whose “Verily, verily I say unto you” seemed to multiply itself like an echo across the undulating hills. After lunch, the père hôtelier discussed with me certain technical issues, times for prayers, etc. He also told me that my lunch in the refectory was an exception, that only priests and guests of the order ate there; I would be eating in a small château a hundred meters away. That was unfortunate, for I had wanted to take part in the monks’ daily routine. I first took a rest, then wrote fifteen letters to Paris hotels applying for work during the month of October. That took me until dinnertime. After compline-matins at eight thirty I returned to my cell. It was then a little after nine. Before I opened my door, I glanced down into the inner court with its cloister walk. There was still light in parts of the building across the way, some in stairwells or library rooms. It was a very mellow light, even though it came from fluorescent bulbs, probably because these were shaded by the structure of the concrete. It was fascinating to see how bright it was near the source, but how it then grew fainter and fainter to the sides behind the most distant windows. The entire structure suddenly became transparent, and you could see columns, braces, wall sections—one behind the other or side by side, each a different shade depending on its distance from the light, like separately illuminated flats on a stage. The combination of dimly

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lit and very three-dimensional-seeming back walls and pillars standing in front of them, black owing to their position in front of the light, had some of the mystery of an X-ray, illuminated from within and revealing depths you cannot otherwise see. “Le couvent [. . .] c’est de l’intérieur qu’il vit. C’est à l’intérieur que se passe l’essentiel.” 9 The lights themselves are very simple. In the stairwell there are small tubes recessed in the wall at nearly floor level. In large rooms there are also slender tubes running through the space in pairs, suspended from the ceiling on rods a meter to a meter and a half long. September 11, 1966 This morning before breakfast I learned something from the père hôtelier that upset me. After courteously asking how long I wished to stay, he indicated that I could not stay as long as I planned, for, owing to the imminent arrival of the frères étudiants10 and to two scheduled congresses, it would be difficult for them to accommodate me beyond September 20. He said this most diplomatically, assuring me that I would of course be welcome longer, only that would require certain discomforts on my part that he did not want to impose on me, etc. I naturally assured him that I did not wish to be in the way, that it would have been nicer if I had been able to stay longer, of course, but that I would profit so much from my stay as it was already. That meant a major change of plans. Above all, I will hardly be able to make drawings, as it is very time-consuming. I will have to use the ten days remaining in other ways. Prayers also take up a lot of time. But those are times when I learn most about the monastery and the monks, even the architecture; when at Terce, for example, in a space which allows for nothing but devotion the monks brace their hands on their knees and, bowing deeply as though before an abyss, form a phalanx of supplicants. When out of the profound stillness enveloping the vast landscape you suddenly hear the Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, it strikes you with primal force. Then at last the other side, raised from the floor again as though by a

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9. “The priory [. . .] lives from the inside. The most important is happening inside.” Le Corbusier, quoted in Jean Petit, Un couvent de Le Corbusier (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1961), p. 20. 10. novices

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11. “You can access God directly, and I don’t . . . but I can give you silence. You can fill this silence with prayer. . . .” Le Corbusier, quoted by A. Belaud, in Petit, Un couvent, p. 18. 12. “His humanism is probably unrelated to our faith, but it is open to spiritual values and a sense of mystery. Mystery of beings? Mystery of God? Each can get lost in one’s own contemplation. Ours goes beyond his and dares to give a name to He who he calls the Unfathomable.” Belaud, in Petit, Une couvent, p. 18. 13. “to offer men a home and give them a concrete shell to live a human life. How can I build a church for men I haven’t housed?” Le Corbusier, quoted by Belaud, in Petit, Une couvent, p. 17.

tremendous summons, responds: Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. The two rows of monks surrendering their wills to God with bowed heads and, as it has been for two centuries, calling out as one, “Amen.” This is the place where Le Corbusier meets with the monks: “Vous, vous allez à Dieu directement, pas moi. . . . Mais . . . je vous procure du silence. Dans ce silence, vous mettez la prière. . . .” 11 Here, prayer loses the quality of mere lip service, it is no longer only words but also gestures repeated for centuries—extending arms, making the sign of the cross—that function in the raw, simple architecture just as they did when first employed, when Moses blessed his exhausted people with outstretched arms. Or the kiss of brotherhood at the close of the concelebration, not merely a decorative touch or crowning flourish, but a primal drama of human regard. Free from sentimentality, it suggests the possibility that in human relations there is not only what passes between person to person but that there is something presiding above this which brings about both chance and change. All activities are performed with great seriousness—not ordinary seriousness, the opposite of laughter or cheerfulness—but a seriousness that seemingly embraces both, that also knows merriment, that is not a particular form of expression but a principle that performs everything with commitment, and on which the ever-repeated Psalms and movements are constant obligations. You stand there embarrassed, as if you have entered a space too quickly without knocking, insufficiently practiced in the conventions, and you send up your participation like a child lofting his kite without being uplifted himself. Le Corbusier understood how to participate in this soaring flight. He managed to create a monastery better than the previous ones without ever having lived in a monastery himself. The thinking of the Dominicans and of Le Corbusier converge in a single point: “Sans doute son humanisme est indépendant de notre foi, mais il est ouvert sur les valeurs spirituelles, sur le sens du mystère. Mystère des êtres? Mystère de Dieu? Chacun suit sa contemplation. La nôtre va au-delà de la sienne et ose nommer Celui qu’il appelle l’Ineffable.”12 Here, he also understood how to build a church. Ronchamp is not a church, and that I was correct in thinking so was confirmed by a conversation I had today with a Dominican, in the course of which I asked why they had asked Le Corbusier to build a church not far from here. He had rejected the commission with the explanation that it was his task “de loger les hommes, de leur donner l’enveloppe de béton qui leur permette de mener une vie humaine. Comment construire une église pour des hommes que je n’ai pas logés ?”13 Le Corbusier’s architecture cannot be separated from his essential humanism. He sought to give people an appropriate dwelling, a home. To him a church

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was not a house of God but rather a structure people could use in certain circumstances. That explains why Le Corbusier built a church for this monastery, yet declined the building of churches elsewhere: “Par contre, vous me demandez de construire un couvent, c’est-à-dire de loger une centaine de religieux, de leur procurer du silence. . . . Dans leur silence, ils mettent la prière : je leur fais une église et cette église pour moi a un sens.”14 As I was coming back from dinner at the château, the church looked particularly impressive. It loomed up black against the dark gray sky, thrusting powerfully up out of the ground. Its impact comes mainly from the fact that it is simply rectangular, with no attempt to seem insubstantial. It is a purely a geometric solid. The surrounding trees with their delicate foliage make the unarticulated hulk seem all the more basic and absolute, like the hills of stone once piled up by ancient peoples to make themselves immortal. The way this massive church simply rises out of the mountain and confronts the valley below is straightforward and authoritative. In the darkness, the tower on the west side looks like the crank on some gigantic machine. It is oddly shaped and is perhaps the only slightly sensational, somewhat irrational element in the entire ensemble. It takes the form of a cube, and a fourth of its volume is embedded in the

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14. “But you are asking me to build a priory, meaning to give a home to about a hundred friars, to give them silence. . . . Their silence is filled with prayer: I make them a church and this church has meaning for me.” Le Corbusier, quoted by Belaud, in Petit, Une couvent, p. 18.

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angled continuation of the wall that serves as support while the remaining threefourths float free. Despite its daring, the whole achieves a semblance of stability and massiveness, thanks to the conformity between the upward extension of the body of the church and the outer edge of the tower. Thus, the airspace occupied by the floating cube is optically integrated into the architecture and appears as an illusory support.

15. Quoted in Peter Gottwald, Moderne Spiritualität. Die zeitgemässe Aktualisierung des Mystischen (Münster, Germany: LIT Verlag, 2010), p. 144. 16. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust II, 1832, act 1, scene 5, line 6503.

On the monastery side, the church has an extension with a rounded footprint that houses the lesser altars. Light shafts that direct light downward into the altar spaces loom up from the roof of this extension, which is planted with grass. From below they look like the trunks of former trees that had grown at a slant. From above they resemble radar screens, for then you see the metal bars dividing and supporting the panes of glass. These light channels are meant to illuminate the right side of the church and especially the smaller altars which, set off from the main space by a six-foot wall, rise up along the slope of the hill. The light openings look like oversize portholes on a sunken ship. It is not only cold water from the ocean’s depth that presses against the panes of glass, but light that glows softly and unobtrusively in the hidden stillness. One is reminded of the words of the great Dominican monk Johannes Tauler: “Let yourself fall to the depths, into your nothingness . . . ”15 There is none of Faust’s spectacular “Stamp to descend,”16 but

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rather a quiet appeal to those waiting to hear: “. . . listen to the voice of the wind and the ceaseless message that forms itself out of silence.”17 The adjacent window is a very different story, it is larger and red, all of it the color of the divine, with the glow of a “secret hearth.” Although the color cast onto the raw concrete wall is perfectly ordinary in itself, as undifferentiated as the sterile paint on the façade of a factory, it is a color that is impressive not because

of its tone, but because, having been magically produced by the penetrating light, it is “simply” red. The crypt is perhaps the most mysterious spot in the entire monastery. Separated from the nave by a wall too tall to see over, it does not extend to the ceiling and is only connected to the monastery by an underground corridor. It is like a temple for the holy of holies, the ark, inaccessible to visitors. In increasing size the altar foundations supporting the autels individus rise up from the subterranean entrance, ever closer to the divine radiance of red light, “ever yearning upward,” becoming ever more at home in proximity to the source, like the embodiment of ranks of Old Testament angels with their eternal hosannas. Here, you are not lifted up as onto an ice field of crystalline solitude the way you are at the bottom of the light shaft in the Ronchamp Chapel; here, to put it in the words of Meister Eckhart, OP —“the man from whom God never concealed anything”—here is “the secret hearth forever encircled by God-hungry Christians.”

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17. Rilke, “The First Elegy.”

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September 12, 1966 After lauds this morning I spent a long time studying the pillars that support the structure on the south side, after it has emerged from the slope and become freestanding. It is the pillars that give the structure a graceful elegance despite its severity; the contrast between these so fragile-seeming supports and the long, projecting block with its two floors of cells is striking. Standing directly below these pillars you are captivated by the grandeur of a soaring cathedral. This spot beneath the monastery is exciting in its variety: individual tall, four-sided columns stand next to high supporting walls that show what it would look like if the columns weren’t here; next to thick, round supports, they seem almost too logical and pedestrian in their calculated solidity compared to the others. However, the main attractions are the squat arches beneath one side of the cloister. They are tilted, bracing themselves in dogged defiance of the slope,

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the better to sustain the burden. They look as if they had been frozen in rapid downward movement. The arches are of different heights and their curves are not uniform, for the formwork was imperfect. But that is precisely what makes them so charming and graceful. In my cell at midday, inspired by my reading of Le Corbusier’s The Modulor, I extended my arms upward, to either side, and discovered that I could just reach the ceiling and touch both walls with my fingertips. This explains the sense of well-being one has in this so narrow cell; the walls envelop you like a second skin. Because of this harmony between its height and width, the room could be any length at all, for you could think of the part that is too long as simply a continuation of that harmony. Thanks to its length, the space is anything but boring, with the charm of a tall-format picture. It is a highly fragile harmony, to be sure, for when the curtain is drawn at night the space is spoiled. It is astonishing that an architecture

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so strict that it does not permit any detail that is not determined by practicality can be so beautiful and appealing. Again and again, though I have lived here for some time now and explore the building every day, I am continually taken by surprise by a certain view, whether of the novice rooms across the inner courtyard from the small windows in the corridor, opposite my cell door, or from the cloister through the refectory and out onto the landscape. Or I discover some new way the concrete has been treated or some as yet unnoticed spot, where the interplay between the entering light and the architectural forms is especially harmonious. I have come to appreciate the close agreement between this architecture and the spirit of the Dominican order, between the powerful logician Le Corbusier and the greatest figures the order has produced. Today a monk told me about the order’s history, especially its great thinkers like Albertus Magnus and his even more outstanding pupil Thomas Aquinas, who with his enormous knowledge and amazing intellectual force pieced everything together into a magnificent whole, creating a unified worldview. In this architecture there is something of St. Dominic’s dying words, “Preserve reason!”; something of the spirit of the Scholastics, who placed thought in the service of God. Here, thought is worship. The word function, which seems to explain everything so readily, is inadequate, for though there was certainly a search for forms determined by function, logic was also involved. And this makes Le Corbusier a Cartesian. It is as if his buildings were meant to reflect logical thought processes. They are also functional, of course, but only because they are, first of all, logical. And they are also beautiful. Le Corbusier didn’t create beauty, he thought beauty. It is the same beauty that distinguishes a Mondrian painting; what makes it so very compelling is its participation in thought, in rules. And here one sees the same yearning for perfection as in Adalbert Stifter’s novel Der Nachsommer, perhaps, where everything has its place and its own justification, where even excitement and emotions as difficult to weigh as affection, are organized, even almost mechanized.

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But basically, it is meaningless to say something is beautiful, functional, or logical. It is best to say nothing at all. We still have no idea why one thing strikes us as beautiful and another leaves us cold. With such words one tries to define something that is inexpressible. Le Corbusier knew of this mystery better than the viewer, of the adventure of creating a work that he could not be sure would turn out successfully—and that he could not say why if it so did. “La proportion est une chose ineffable”; “Lorsqu’une œuvre est à son maximum d’intensité, de proportion, de qualité d’exécution, de perfection, il se produit un phénomène d’espace indicible : les lieux se mettent à rayonner. . . .”18 He was as helpless as Wagner, the alchemist in Faust who creates the Homunculus. When he asks the “clever mannequin” what will happen to him if he leaves him, the Homunculus replies, “You’ll stay here,” then floats up to where he shows Faust how to find Helen. Wagner thus learns that satisfaction in the creation of a work is primarily action-based and does not come from simply admiring one’s success. Le Corbusier admired his works, but as though they already didn’t belong to him, for work on a building was to him an “aventure inattendue.”19 And the paradoxes and tautologies he uttered on incidental visits to his structures suggest that there was something within him that had done the thinking, the source of which he constantly sought to identify, to completely understand and express. “C’est du domaine de l’ineffable.”20 It could be that his praise is in many respects the greater, that he possibly sees it so powerfully that he does not name it, for he doesn’t know the depth of his ignorance, whereas the others think to know it, for they admit to it. Seen in this light, what one monk said to me makes sense: “Notre contemplation va au delà de la sienne et ose nommer celui qu’il appelle l’ineffable.”21 For example, on the grass-covered roof, which is connected to the nave of the church by a bridge, he built a wall taller than a man’s height. It was so far up that the beauty of the pillars, the proportions, and the mystical illumination of the church nave, the abundance of light in the corridors, and the quiet of the cells are forgotten; where the trees are below you and only the very tallest ones nod to you;

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18. “Proportion is unfathomable”; “When a work reaches its maximum level of intensity, proportion, quality of execution and perfection, something happens like an unfathomable space: places start to glow. . . .”, Le Corbusier, quoted in Petit, Un couvent, p. 29. 19. “unexpected adventure” 20. “It belongs to the unfathomable.” Le Corbusier, quoted in Petit, Un couvent, p. 29. 21. Le Corbusier, quoted by Belaud, in Petit, Une couvent, p. 18.

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where you could enjoy a splendid panorama if not for this wall that blocks your view. He explained to the monks: “Je pense que vous avez tous été sur le toit et vous avez vu combien c’est beau. C’est beau parce qu’on ne le voit pas.”22 This wall is emblematic of Le Corbusier. Blocking a perhaps too-lovely view, except for a glimpse of mountains at one spot where you have to stand on tiptoe, [it] is like the warning hand frequently visible in pictures of the Annunciation. . . . “Not that you could endure God’s voice— far from it. But listen to the breath.”23 September 13, 1966

22. “I think you all have been on the roof and seen how beautiful it is. It is beautiful because you don’t see it.” Le Corbusier, quoted in Petit, Un couvent, p. 28.

Last night there was a storm, a fairly violent one. There was endless lightning and thunder, with very short intervals between them. I was able to devote my undivided attention to this natural spectacle inasmuch as my interest was not lessened by worry about being struck by lightning, conscious as I was of being safe within a Faraday cage (reinforced concrete). Despite the unsettled night I woke up early enough to be able to attend lauds. The daily divine service has already become almost a habit, one encouraged by the fact that the Psalms include many repetitions and thus give you the feeling that you have recited them over and over for a very long time. During breakfast, there is no conversation. Breakfast itself is a very simple affair. You take a plate, put butter, marmalade, and bread (that is generally fairly old and very dry) on it. You then arm yourself with a knife and spoon from the cutlery chest. From large metal kettles you ladle coffee and milk into your bowl. The kettles rest on a stove over a tiny flame, so that the coffee is always drinking temperature. After breakfast I usually take a short walk in the allée that leads to the “châteaux”24 (the gift of a noblewoman who had vowed that in the event that her son came back from captivity, she would donate this château and the surrounding property to the order). This morning the air was very pure thanks to the downpour during the night, and it smelled like a mix of herbs and spices. I am very fond of this allée, as it is a kind of hybrid between cultivation and untamed wilderness. Though the spacing of the trees is clearly artificial, the

23. Rilke, “The First Elegy.”

24. “castles”

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original state is preserved in that the shrubbery around the tall trees has not been cleared away. In the morning, there is hardly anyone on the road except for a few priests with their breviaries. I spent nearly the whole day working on my sporadic notes from Ronchamp and the journey here, along with my first impressions of La Tourette. It was very difficult, for you can’t speak about everything. “Le couvent ne se parle pas, il se parcourt.”25 Then, before vespers, I went for a walk; first down the allée, then up the hill to the end of the monastery property. Again there is a wrought-iron gate in the wall, although no one is living in the derelict gatehouse. I then followed the wall that borders the property and runs in a broad curve nearly up to the plateau from which you can look out across countless hills. It already feels a little like fall; a few leaves have fallen, the wheat has been cut, the colors are no longer as strong, the trees no longer a luscious green, and the fields have taken on a lilac shimmer. I still got back in time for the ninth hour. There are now considerably more monks than when I came. Then tomorrow, the novices return. September 14, 1966 I got up at six thirty and attended the early service, had my breakfast, and then took a walk. Just as yesterday, I first walked down the allée, then to the gate and along the wall until I saw a small tower in the distance. I assumed that it was either a pilgrimage chapel, as its elevated position suggested, or perhaps a chapel in a cemetery. I decided to climb up to it, for from there I assumed that the view would be incredible. The climb wasn’t easy, for you can’t get there by the most direct route because of the barriers for the herds of sheep. I finally managed to negotiate a few ravines so overgrown with shrubbery that it formed a virtual roof above me and came out onto a field of stubble not far from the chapel. My efforts were rewarded, for from up there I had a view even more splendid than I had imagined. I will surely head there again sometime. According to an inscription at the back door, the chapel was erected by a family who made a vow to the Holy Virgin to do so after they were spared of the plague. Here there are a great many such chapels; in the nineteenth century, as someone explained to me at lunchtime in the château, Lyon and its surroundings were devastated by the plague. Lunch in the château always seems a dramatic contrast to the silence of the monastery. “Que les Français aiment les grandes paroles!”26 Today the congress ended, and everybody was loudly discussing its success. It was amazing how many people got involved, some shouting across three or four tables in long, rapid-fire harangues accompanied by expansive gestures and expressions that gave their faces a strained yet charming appearance

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25. “The priory shouldn’t be written about but experienced.” Le Corbusier, quoted by a novice, in Petit, Un couvent, p. 74. 26. “[The] French do like big words!”

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that we know Frenchmen, and especially Frenchwomen, have when they begin to speak. In regards to the rapid speech of these Frenchmen, I thought of how, in March 1964, their general addressed an enthusiastic crowd on a small island in the Caribbean, behind him the endless ocean. He punctuated his speech with magical arm movements, extending his hands in part in blessing, with their projecting thumbs turned inward as if he were operating a strength-training machine: “Vis-àvis des autres, c’est-à-dire des deux milliards d’hommes qui, sur la terre, veulent accéder à leur tour à notre civilisation, veulent surmonter leur misère, leur faim et leur ignorance, vis-à-vis de ceux-là, la France donne son aide. – Là où est placé ce département, en plein milieu de l’océan, entre une immense Amérique, celle du Nord et celle des Latins, et une

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grande Europe, la Martinique est un témoin, un lien, un point d’où la France doit rayonner sur l’ensemble de cet océan.” 27 September 15, 1966 The conference on “la formation,”28 organized around the theme of “Economy and Humanism,” as I was told, has just ended. Now in its place is a congress on liturgical issues with priests and seminarians. It is currently much more peaceful during meals, although the number of diners is the same. This morning I received mail from Paris. Two letters—one from the Hotel Claridge and the other from the Hotel Ambassador; one rejection and one notyet-certain acceptance: “Sans vous donner l’assurance à l’avance.”29 I’m happy that the director of the Hotel Ambassador holds out the possibility, though not yet certain, of employment. The season is over, after all, and for the most part the hotels can now get along with their permanent staff. Even so, it is possible I will hear from others, as I wrote to fifteen. September 16, 1966 I slept better than usual last night, for I had identified the source of the noise that had made me restless the previous nights. The bookcase is infested with woodworms that at irregular intervals make a noise that is not very loud, but clear and penetrating, like that of a still, very tiny, tentative woodpecker. It was enough to rob me of sleep, for otherwise it is so very quiet. Today I simply moved the bookcase out onto the balcony and closed the doors. I would have had to close them in any case, as it has now become cooler. At lauds this morning there were only three lay brothers. The other monks had set out very early for Taizé, where they are paying a visit. So we all prayed very quietly by ourselves. It was strange not to see so many monks in the large room— only the three, who had scattered across the whole space instead of sitting in their accustomed seats. Strange how while usually there are so many voices, you could only hear what occasionally came from outside, the scream of a crow, for example, or the whoosh of the wind—now, the sound of a page being turned or the soft, almost inaudible rustle of a frock from an arm movement stood out as meaningful and virtually programmed. After breakfast, I again hiked up to the chapel, where the view is tremendous. This time I didn’t take the shortcut across the fields of stubble but kept to the tarred road along the monastery’s boundary wall, which, after curving away from

27. “To the others, meaning the two billion men on earth who also want to access civilization, overcome with misery, hunger, and ignorance, to those, France reaches out. . . . Where this department is located, in the middle of the ocean, between a huge America, the Northern and the Latin, and a big Europe, Martinique is a witness, a connection, a point from which France has to reign over this whole ocean.” Speech given by General Charles de Gaulle in Fort-deFrance, Martinique, on March 22, 1964. 28. “education”

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the wall, turns into a gravel track a bit overgrown with grass. Just before it passes through a hamlet, it is again paved and free of grass. This cluster of houses, like others in the area, is comical; the houses, only three or four on either side of the road, are packed close together as if in a big city, and there’s only a very narrow passageway between them. Approaching from open meadows, you suddenly see only a tiny patch of sky above you between two houses. It’s weird, for it is an impression you would expect to have in a very different situation. Because it appears so suddenly, it seems like it’s part of a dream. After only a few steps in this big-city canyon, you can once again look out across distant hills and mountains and up at the little chapel at the summit, standing black against the blue sky since the sun is directly behind it. It is annoying that you can’t head straight for the church but have to detour far to the left because the path is fenced. If it weren’t for the horned rams grazing behind the fence, you could climb over. Along the gravel path there is withered shrubbery, for the thicket on either side has to be continually cut back to keep the path from becoming overgrown. The church stands at the very peak of the mountain, from which you have a panoramic view. The sun was so strong that the scattered tiny houses on distant mountain slopes looked like uncleared scree. The chapel is in ruins. The steps have become dislodged and the lock has fallen off the door. Collapsed wooden beams block the entrances. Through gaps where stones have fallen from the walls, you can peer inside, and the blissful sight you’re confronted with through the peephole is disorienting: little angels singing so ardently that their little mouths are O-shaped. They tenderly hold tiny scrolls in their white hands but don’t look at them; their gazes are directed upward so that you see the whites of their eyes. There are also other delicately carved figures lost to the world. It wasn’t just seeing them like a window display in a well-run boutique, it was the whole situation, the spot where you were observing all this—standing on a broad summit where the wind was strong, behind you a vast mountain landscape. Yet here was this exquisite array untouched by the wind and the fallen masonry. You would have thought that the little angels would have at least lost an arm or a piece of the hem of their robes, the way you often find them in cemeteries. On my return, I checked a calendar and discovered that I have been here seven days. That comforted me somewhat. As long as I kept stumbling upon new features of the monastery, I had no wish to leave; it would have felt as if I were leaving behind something that only half belonged to me. But even so I still had three days.

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September 18, 1966 For two days now there has been a rather strong wind. Now and again you hear the banging of a door somewhere, but there are no clattering shutters nor wind whistling through cracks around the door. It is only the sound of the wind in the surrounding trees that indicates a major current of air. And it doesn’t blow in wild gusts, but with a uniform strength, like a weakened mistral. Before vespers I took a walk up to the plateau above the monastery. There the wind was very strong. The landscape was in constant flux. Clouds were scudding by, one layer above another, each with its own appearance. Their composition must have been different as well, for they moved at different speeds, forming new, elusive combinations and colors. But their effect was evident when they made whole mountain ranges disappear or when they moved in such a way that the distance was obliterated and the massif in front of which they stood was suddenly silhouetted and appeared insubstantial. In many of the very dense clouds, there were openings that allowed bright sunlight to shine through, floodlighting portions of the landscape below with an apocalyptic brightness. New clouds appeared again and again, not one like the last. Some were extremely tall; others low and swift-moving, at times even

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enveloping the rise on which I stood. The wind never let up, violently shaking the trees so that leaves were flying about. But not all the trees looked so distraught; some formed large, impenetrable cones that stood there, fat and round, as if holding onto their leaves and branches. And certain faraway mountains, watercolored by the mists in front of them, looked so delicate that they were nearly invisible, fragile as wafers and with no hint of their stony cores, seemingly untouched by the wind. It was only their soft, insubstantial colors that indicated without question [that] their appearance was of shorter duration than that of others, for soon a huge black cloud would appear and wipe the scene away. The muted sound of the monastery bells carried upward by the wind let me know that it would soon be time for the ninth hour. I headed back down, past the grove of woods whose trees are choked with dense ivy that has sapped their strength, and whose branches no longer produce many leaves. In such wind, especially with leaves swirling about, it already looked like October. The ivy really thrives there; it snakes up the tree trunks with abandon, and the trees stand there like dumb cows harassed by flies that they can’t swat with their tails. I got to the ninth hour on time. It was already twilight. Through banks of clouds, the red of the setting sun shone like a fire burning behind a magnificent backdrop. The voices of the monks and the movement of the landscape collaborated in an affecting song of praise. The Psalm Domine, inclina caelos tuos et descende, tange montes et fumigabunt as sung in unison by the now quite large number of monks, seemed to appeal to the clouds, which appeared to me as the embodiment of a remote omnipotence. This was above all thanks to the huge windows in the chapterhouse, which revealed a grandiose swath of nature. As if in front of a broad canvas, the troops of clouds swept past in silence, for you couldn’t hear the wind through the glass. They sped by like the gurgling water of a stream rushing along at a consistent, unrelenting tempo. Solitary trees looming up against the pale sky were moving constantly like the clouds, but not so purposefully; more with an uncontrolled ferocity. Only now and again would one of their crowns bend to the left as though searching for a hold, for a moment moving in tandem with a passing bank of clouds before springing back all the more forcefully. It was as if the tree, now behaving in such wild abandon, was simply unsuited for such uniform, surging motion as that of the cloud masses. Against this background, the monks prayed. The precentor stood and, in the Gregorian tradition, his voice trembling like a harp string, intoned the Domine, dragging out the final e as though savoring it in the silence; then, aware of the power he was unleashing, sang with greater firmness: Inclina caelos tuos et descente. And the monks, with mountain peaks visible above their heads, and in front of

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a horizon where a setting sun burns a gap in the clouds, responded with great resonance: Tange montes et fumigabunt. It was not as if they had to endure all that, but rather as if they had staged this spectacle as an illustration of their paean of praise. Nature’s power was not excluded, as it was by the high wall on the roof garden, but was incorporated into their chant. September 19, 1966 Today I packed my bags and rode to the train station with the brother in charge of the hotel business. At the station, I checked my bags through to Paris. Packing is no fun. You feel that you’ve already left, gone somewhere else. At 8:53 in the morning I leave for Lyon. I want to look around the city, which I’m told is lovelier than I had thought. I had the idea that it was mainly industrial, with little culture to speak of. But a young woman from Lyon, who was attending a conference in Éveux and also having her meals at the château, informed me that it is a city with a rich history, older than Paris [sic], founded by the Romans, as attested by surviving ruins like the amphitheater. It also has houses dating back to the fourteenth century—even the thirteenth and twelfth centuries—that are still lived in. That interested me greatly, of course. Aside from this, she assured me that the city is very attractive. It even has a museum filled with mainly Renaissance and baroque paintings. I have decided to spend some time in the city, in part because having a young Lyonnaise with such a thorough knowledge of history as a guide will make for a more interesting visit. This afternoon I took a walk with a monk on the roof garden. That wall is the most primitive and, at the same time, most ingenious of Le Corbusier’s ideas, for any other architect would have called for a wall some four feet high. He made it more than six feet. It’s not that you can’t see anything at all, but only what is visible above the wall, or stands considerably higher than your vantage point. It is the same effect that astonishes you when hiking in the mountains, and you keep seeing higher and higher peaks when you think you have reached the highest one. From there you look down—or, better, across—at the blue mountain peaks of the massif in the distance and, turning to the slope behind you, a few tops of very old, tall trees. The view is severely restricted, but in fact it is liberating, for the wall forces you to gaze far into the distance, not at what is directly beneath you, which would be lovely, perhaps, but not awe-inspiring. With this wall, he encouraged a different, more focused relationship with nature. Only the most distant mountains matter, and of them, only the highest ones. “Mais les vues panoramiques ne valent rien en général . . . d’élargir la vue de plus en plus. . . .”30 (Le Corbusier to the monks during

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a visit to the monastery after its completion). Le Corbusier made the long view what counts, emphasizing the “horizon”31 by blocking out what was nearby with a wall. It is thus what is far away that fascinates, “qui s’impose, qui frappe, qui exalte,”32 a distance created in part by exclusion, by masterful restriction . . . “spontané et réfléchi.”33 Through the passerelle,34 as the monk remarked, appropriately and not without humor, for on this “gangway” you can see the ground through the joints, as though looking down at the sea from the landing stage of a ship—through this passerelle you reach the roof garden above the nave of the church. The monk tells me that here, owing to a workers’ mistake, the wall was built a little too tall. The roof of the nave actually climbs somewhat in the direction of the valley, which greatly adds to the church’s impression of massiveness. That impression is thus not only an optical effect that could have resulted from the steepness of the slope. Up here, again, the formwork was less than perfect. You can see very clearly, as elsewhere on the entire exterior and interior body of the church, where the cables (which have since been snipped off) previously ran and held together the forms. I went to bed soon after dinner, so as to be able to wake up the next morning in time. Since I had forgotten my alarm clock, I always had to force myself to wake up.

30. “But panoramic views are usually worthless . . . opening the horizon more and more. . . .” Le Corbusier, quoted in Petit, Un couvent, p. 28.

31. Here, Anselm Kiefer plays with the resemblance and polysemy of the terms Weitsicht (vision), Weite (extensive, broad, large), and weite (distance, vastness).

32. “makes an impression and touches the soul”

33. “spontaneous yet thought-out”

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34. footbridge

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September 20, 1966 My last breakfast was at eight fifteen. I then drove down to L’Arbresle with the frère hôtelier. The train to Lyon was express. We first admired the place Bellecour, with wonderful façades from the eighteenth century, in the heart of the city. But you couldn’t appreciate the square’s full effect because much of the space was blocked off due to the construction of an underground garage. From there, it is not very far to the place de la République, bordered by the rue de la République, perhaps Lyon’s busiest street, which suddenly ends at a large white building, behind which the very steep mountain ridge begins. This building forces you towards the left, onto the place de Terreaux, the site of the Palais des Beaux-Arts, 35 where we spent about two hours. Following our museum visit, we climbed the ridge, from which you can see beneath you the Nationale 7 36 that tunnels through the mountain. You also have an expansive view of the Rhône Valley, the expressway, and a sea of houses, with their

35. Museum of Fine Arts 36. National Route 7

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countless chimneys distinguished only by their uneven heights. At this spot, the slope is so steep that I could not conceive how buildings could cling to it. We then followed a street that runs right above the tunnel routier 37 up to La Croix-Rousse. From there, to the right, you can peer into stairwells and back courtyards, and to the left, down onto the city. There were also a very few tiny shops selling everyday provisions. Seeming completely out of place was a poster that filled a hairdresser’s entire display window. If I remember correctly, it was an advertisement for a soap, the exquisite cleansing power of which was supposedly illustrated by the flawless complexion of a woman pictured in front of a blurred, parklike landscape. A delicate light blue silk shawl wafted around her throat, which was only partially obscured by the severe lines of her coat. Appearing as it did in such dreary and colorless surroundings, the elegant photograph with its carefully contrived pose seemed like a piece of flotsam, untainted by salt water, having been cast up where it made no sense. In the afternoon, we visited Old Lyon with its early Gothic Saint-Jean Cathedral. Its façade is somewhat like that of Notre-Dame, similarly severe and clearly structured. The church preserves a few very old stained-glass windows, through

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which a beautiful light falls on the bare stone, relieving it of its hardness and bathing the interior of the church in a warm and mystical light. Most impressive is the rose window above the back entrance as seen from the altar. It is not as delicate as the one at Notre-Dame, but since its design is not perfectly symmetrical, it strikes you as somehow more fragile, more mysterious. After visiting the cathedral, we turned away from the river in the direction of what a sign told us was the Vieux Quartiers.38 Here, something extraordinary happened, and I was in no way prepared for what I was about to see. To be sure, the sign read “Vieux Quartiers,” and I knew that these were houses from the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, but that gave me no idea of what was coming. Once you leave the square you cross a boundary. Suddenly you are confronted with the smells of centuries, of nearly a millennium. The houses are squeezed tightly together and hold each other up like a legion of unsteady old men. You wonder what can have allowed them to survive for so long, to outlast the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and stagger into the modern age. They are extremely fragile, and a single detonation would sweep everything away, even the smell and one’s memory of it, for something like that cannot be conveyed, and only reveals itself to the person who again comes upon it. These houses have absorbed everything into their ancient walls. What so distinguishes these buildings is not merely the fact that they have survived, but what they have witnessed. What wears at them is what has left traces, habits behind: well-worn steps; a forgotten clothesline no longer used; strong, forbidding iron grilles in front of the small windows on every floor, indicating that there was once danger here; or the exposed drainpipes in these inner courtyards that produce the indescribably musty and characteristic smell—one you could never quite recall but would recognize if you ever encountered it again. It is the inner courtyards that are the most evocative, for with their facing windows, the multiple stories are like the tiers in a large theater. These courtyards have witnessed the comings and goings of countless generations, each of them adding what was required. You wish you could ask the houses who lived where many centuries ago. Through their long use, they have become a tiny bit more lived-in, all the more habitable for the next occupants. The surviving houses tell no specific stories. They are like the sets for a marionette theater in which you stand bewildered before the countless strings, the ends of which are out of sight. This city refuses to die. It has survived fires, lived through plague, withstood wars, suffered plundering—and yet it still stands. The monastery was beautiful but its beauty was also at times disquieting, for often words are lacking. There is nothing that can be compared with it. Its architecture was unsettling, as is every work of art that comes closer than others

38. Old Town

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to perfection. But here, in the Quartier Fourvière, there was a surfeit of humanity; it imposes itself on you, takes hold of you. Leaving La Tourette was difficult, but so was the arrival in Lyon, hearing the noise of the train station. The transition from the magnificent silence of La Tourette to the cacophony of a metropolis was too abrupt. Tomorrow morning at 9:27, I board the train to Paris, where I hope to find work at the Hotel Ambassador.

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P HOTO GRAPH Y AP R IL 2018 Anselm Kiefer

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P L AT ES Installation views, paintings, and sculptures

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Danaé 2019 Lead, resin, metal, sunflower seeds, and gold leaf 131 7⁄8 × 94 1⁄2 × 74 3⁄4 inches (335 × 240 × 190 cm)

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Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) 2007 Oil, emulsion, shellac, clay, dried plants, metal, fabric, and plaster on plywood in 33 steel-and-glass frames with resin, soil, and palm tree Each vitrine: 74 7⁄8 × 55 1⁄8 × 4 inches (190 × 140 × 10 cm) Overall: dimensions variable The 6 vitrines on display in the exhibition are part of this installation, titled: p. 86: Pâques fleuries (Flowered Easter) p. 87: Johannis-Nacht (St. John’s Night) p. 88: Niedziela Palmowa (Palm Sunday) p. 91: Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday) p. 92: Ave Maria p. 93: Dimanche des Rameaux (Palm Sunday)

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Résurrection 2019 Concrete, sand, resin, plaster, and acrylic 14 feet 9 1⁄8 inches × 23 feet 11 3⁄8 inches × 20 feet 1⁄8 inch (450 × 730 × 610 cm)

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p. 106 Ave Maria, virgo purissima 2018 Resin, lead, and metal 51 5⁄8 × 51 1⁄8 × 52 3⁄8 inches (131 × 130 × 133 cm) p. 107 Hl. Agathe (St. Agatha) 2018 Resin and metal 57 1⁄8 × 49 1⁄4 × 67 3⁄4 inches (145 × 125 × 172 cm) pp. 108–09 and 111 Hl. Apollonia (St. Apollonia) 2018 Resin and metal 51 1⁄8 × 57 1⁄8 × 57 1⁄8 inches (130 × 145 × 145 cm)

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Warum ist überhaupt etwas und nicht nichts? (Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?) 2010–16 (detail, right) Emulsion, acrylic, oil, shellac, metal, sediment of electrolysis, and lead on canvas 6 feet 2 3⁄4 inches × 18 feet 4 1⁄2 inches × 1 foot 5⁄8 inch (190 × 560 × 32 cm)

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Heiliges Jerusalem (Heavenly Jerusalem) 2007–19 Cement, sand, lead, plaster, and metal 9 feet 8 1⁄8 inches × 18 feet 1⁄2 inch × 9 feet 2 1⁄4 inches (295 × 550 × 280 cm)

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pp. 129 (detail) and 133 Le Serpent d’airain (The Brazen Serpent) 2017 Glass, metal, wood, lead, chalk, and clay 75 1⁄4 × 31 1⁄2 × 28 inches (191 × 80 × 71 cm) p. 130 Jakobs Kampf mit dem Engel ( Jacob Wrestling with the Angel) 2014 Glass, metal, wood, lead, emulsion, clay, and paint remains 27 1⁄2 × 15 3⁄4 × 15 3⁄4 inches (70 × 40 × 40 cm) pp. 136 and 137 (detail) Johannis-Nacht (St. John’s Night) 2014 Glass, metal, lead, resin, clay, sunflower seeds, silver leaf, and acrylic on cardboard 47 1⁄2 × 31 7⁄8 × 19 3⁄4 inches (120.5 × 81 × 50 cm) p. 139 Johannis-Nacht 21.6.2017 (St. John’s Night 21.6.2017) 2014–17 Glass, metal, lead, resin, ash, plaster, sunflower seeds, silver leaf, and acrylic on cardboard 47 1⁄2 × 31 7⁄8 × 19 3⁄4 inches (120.5 × 81 × 50 cm)

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p. 153

Johannis-Nacht (St. John’s Night) 2014 Glass, metal, wood, acrylic on cardboard, resin, shellac, clay, ash, and dried leaves 39 5⁄8 × 29 1⁄2 × 15 3⁄4 inches (100.5 × 75 × 40 cm)

Moses 2014 Glass, metal, lead, soil, nest, eggshell, branch, photograph on cardboard, sunflower seeds, and gold leaf 39 5⁄8 × 28 × 15 3⁄4 inches (100.5 × 71 × 40 cm)

p. 145 San Loretto 2016 Glass, metal, rust, plaster, acrylic, wood, and lead 63 3⁄4 × 71 5⁄8 × 27 1⁄2 inches (162 × 182 × 70 cm)

pp. 154 and 155 (detail) L’Origine du monde (The Origin of the World ) 2014 Glass, metal, wood, clay, and acrylic on canvas with dried leaves and eggshell 35 3⁄8 × 70 7⁄8 × 27 1⁄2 inches (90 × 180 × 70 cm)

pp. 146 (left) and 148–49 (details) Mathäus 3.9 des pierres que voici, Dieu peut faire surgir des enfants à Abraham (Matthew 3.9 out of These Stones, God Can Raise Up Children for Abraham) 2014 Glass, metal, stone, resin, lead, clay, and silver leaf 59 7⁄8 × 70 7⁄8 × 27 1⁄2 inches (152 × 180 × 70 cm)

pp. 156 and 157–59 (details) MAÂT-AN I

2018 Glass, metal, ash, clay, and feather 79 1⁄2 × 59 × 47 1⁄4 inches (202 × 150 × 120 cm)

pp. 150 (detail) and 151 Lost Paradise 2014 Glass, metal, lead, clay, dried plant, stone, and clay fragments 27 1⁄2 × 15 3⁄4 × 15 3⁄4 inches (70 × 40 × 40 cm)

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P L AT ES Books

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Aperiatur Terra 2006 Acrylic, emulsion, shellac, and clay on black-and-white photographs 40 pages (front cover, 19 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 25 × 17 3⁄8 × 2 inches (63.5 × 44 × 5 cm)

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Der Limbus (Limbo) 1991–2012 Black-and-white photographs and charcoal on cardboard 32 pages (front cover, 15 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 41 × 27 1⁄2 × 15⁄8 inches (104 × 70 × 4 cm)

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Durchzug durch das Rote Meer (The Crossing of the Red Sea) 1989 Black-and-white photographs 42 pages (front cover, 20 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 28 1⁄2 × 20 1⁄2 × 15⁄8 inches (72.5 × 52 × 4 cm)

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Gang durchs Rote Meer (The Crossing of the Red Sea) 1987 Silver leaf on black-and-white photographs mounted on cardboard 24 pages (front cover, 11 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 16 1⁄2 × 16 1⁄2 × 2 3⁄8 inches (42 × 42 × 6 cm)

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Johannis-Nacht (St. John’s Night) 1987 Black-and-white photographs 38 pages (front cover, 18 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 26 3⁄8 × 15 3⁄4 × 1 3⁄8 inches (67 × 40 × 3.5 cm)

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Johannis-Nacht (St. John’s Night) 1989 Black-and-white photographs 30 pages (front cover, 14 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 21 1⁄4 × 21 1⁄4 × 1 inches (54 × 54 × 2.5 cm)

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Lauretanische Litanei (Litany of Loreto) 1996 Charcoal, pencil, emulsion, acrylic, dried plants on cardboard, blood, snakeskin, latex, semen, cloth, and photocollage 18 pages (front cover, 8 double-page spreads, and back cover) Overall (closed): 39 3⁄8 × 27 1⁄2 × 2 3⁄4 inches (100 × 70 × 7 cm)

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BI O G RAP HY

1945 Anselm Kiefer is born on March 8 in Donaueschingen, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. There he spends his first years at his grandparents’ home. 1951 Joins his parents in Ottersdorf, Germany. 1963 Wins the Jean Walter Prize, which allows him to travel to Paris, Lyon, and Arles in France in Vincent van Gogh’s footsteps. 1966 Spends two weeks at the Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette in Éveux, France, where he experiences the religious life led by the Dominican friars. The convent, built between 1953 and 1960 by Le Corbusier, allows him to discover “the spirituality of concrete.” After a year of studying law and romance languages at the university in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, he enrolls in the School of Fine Arts there and begins his artistic training under Peter Dreher. 1968 Establishes his first studio in Karlsruhe, Germany. 1969 Pursues his studies at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe under Horst Antes, and performs Besetzungen (Occupations) in France, Italy, and Switzerland: for this, he dresses in his father’s military uniform and parodies the Nazi salute. This event marks the beginning of his work on the memory of World War II and Nazism as a means of breaking the silence over the recent past and of exploring his German identity, culture, and history. 1970 First solo exhibition opens at the Galerie am Kaiserplatz in Karlsruhe. 1971 Moves into a former school in Odenwald, in Walldürn-Hornbach, Germany. Visits Joseph Beuys, who at this time is a professor at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany. Shows him his work and participates in performances that Beuys organizes. 1973 Begins a series that evokes Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen cycle. 1975 Introduces lead as a material in his work. 1977 Opens first museum exhibition at the Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn, Germany. Begins a series of woodcuts depicting Wagnerian themes, including Brünnhilde and her horse, Grane.

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1980 Along with Georg Baselitz, represents Germany at the 39th Venice Biennale. Presents a series of books made between 1970 and 1978, and several paintings titled Verbrennen, verholzen, versenken, versanden. 1981 Introduces Third Reich architecture into his work, emptying the infrastructure of all substance and grandeur. First exhibition in the United States opens at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York. 1982 Mounts Anselm Kiefer: Peintures et livres (Anselm Kiefer: Paintings and Books) at Whitechapel Gallery in London. 1984 Travels for the first time to Israel. Introduces into his work themes related to mythology and to the history of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations before the Christian era. His exhibition Anselm Kiefer travels to the Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf, Germany, March 24–May 5; Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, May 11–June 21; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, July 31–September 30. The exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Peintures de 1983–1984 (Anselm Kiefer: Paintings from 1983–1984) opens at the CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain, in Bordeaux, France. 1985 During its renovation, Kiefer acquires a part of the lead roof of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral, which he notably uses to execute the sculpture The High Priestess: Land of the Two Rivers. Lead becomes a favorite material. 1988 Represents Germany at the 9th Bienal de São Paulo, taking many photographs of the city’s skyscrapers. He later uses these as the basis for his series Lilith. A solo exhibition dedicated to his work travels through the United States: Art Institute of Chicago, December 5, 1987–January 31, 1988; Philadelphia Museum of Art, March 6–May 1, 1988; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, June 12–September 11, 1988; Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 16, 1988–January 3, 1989. 1989 Acquires a former brick factory in Höpfingen, in Odenwald, which he transforms into a large-scale art installation. 1990 Travels for the second time to Israel. The kabbalah becomes a special source of inspiration. The exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Livres 1969–1990 (Anselm Kiefer: Books 1969–1990) opens at the Kunsthalle, Tübingen, Germany, where it is on view September 29–November 18, 1990; travels to: Kunstverein München, Munich, January 11–February 17, 1991; Kunsthaus Zürich, March 1–April 7, 1991.

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1991 Travels to Mexico, Guatemala, South Korea, and Japan. 1992 Travels to the United States, Thailand, Australia, and Indonesia. Kiefer moves from Germany to a former silk factory in Barjac, in the Gard region of France. 1993 Travels to India, China, Pakistan, Nepal, and Japan. The exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Melancholia travels through Japan: Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, June 3–July 19; Kyoto National Museum, August 3– September 5; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, September 18– October 25. 1995 Discovers the English philosopher Robert Fludd. Introduces themes into his work regarding the cosmos and the relationship between the macrocosm and microcosm. 1996 Travels for the second time to India, then to Morocco and Egypt. Kiefer begins the series titled I hold all Indias in my hand. 1997 From June to November, the Museo Correr in Venice presents the retrospective Anselm Kiefer: Himmel—Erde (Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth). 1998 The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York acquires and exhibits fifty-four works on paper in Anselm Kiefer: Works on Paper, 1969–1993. 2003 Kiefer designs the sets and costumes for Sophocles’s tragedy Oedipus at Colonus at the Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna and for Richard Strauss’s Elektra at the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples, Italy. 2005 Opens the traveling exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, where it is on view September 25, 2005– January 8, 2006; travels to: Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, February 11– April 30, 2006; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC , June 22–September 10, 2006; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, October 20, 2006–January 21, 2007. 2007 Kiefer inaugurates the first Monumenta at the Grand Palais in Paris with a piece that pays homage to the poets Ingeborg Bachmann and Paul Celan as well as Céline. He establishes two new studios, one in the Marais, in Paris, and the other in Croissy, on the outskirts of Paris. In October, three of his works—the painting Athanor and the sculptures Danaé and Hortus Conclusus—are acquired by the Musée du Louvre, Paris.

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2009 To celebrate its twentieth anniversary, the Opéra Bastille in Paris commissions Kiefer to design a musical performance titled Am Anfang (In the Beginning), based on texts from the Old Testament. He realizes the concept, direction, sets, and costumes. 2010 The Collège de France in Paris appoints Kiefer chair of artistic creation. 2014 The Royal Academy of Arts in London dedicates a retrospective to his work. 2015 Opens the retrospective exhibitions Anselm Kiefer at the Centre Pompidou and Anselm Kiefer: L’alchimie du livre (Anselm Kiefer: Alchemy of the Book) at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, both in Paris; the latter is the first exhibition in France dedicated to his books from 1969 to 2015. 2016 The retrospective exhibition Anselm Kiefer: Die Holzschnitte (Anselm Kiefer: The Woodcuts) opens at the Albertina Museum, Vienna. 2017 On the centennial anniversary of Auguste Rodin’s death, the Musée Rodin in Paris and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia present the exhibition Kiefer Rodin. Kiefer contributes books, vitrines, and paintings inspired by the sculptor’s oeuvre and by his book Cathedrals of France. 2018 Installs Uraeus, his first public sculpture in the United States, at Rockefeller Center in New York for temporary exhibition. 2019 Anselm Kiefer: Livres et xylographies (Anselm Kiefer: Books and Woodcuts) is on view at the Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Écriture et la Littérature in Montricher, Switzerland; travels to the Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo.

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ACKN O W L E D G ME NT S ON BEHALF OF THE DOMINICAN FRIARS

AT LA TOURETTE The exhibition Anselm Kiefer à La Tourette could not have become a reality without the collaboration and generosity of Anselm Kiefer, who supervised this project and its realization with total commitment. The artist responded with great care to our invitation and actively participated in the conception and preparation of this exhibition. The time spent in his studios in Croissy and in Barjac, as well as at the Couvent de La Tourette with the friars of the community, comprised moments of exchange and mutual listening. We would like to express our fullest gratitude to him and extend to him our warmest thanks. We would also like to offer our profound appreciation to Waltraud Forelli for her sincere listening, for her counsel, for her pertinent feedback, and finally for her gracious and discreet support. We are indebted to her. We would also like to extend wholehearted thanks to Anna Antoine, who throughout this project served as an efficient and readily available liaison. We also are grateful to Eva König for her precious assistance in completing the catalogue. Our profound gratitude is expressed to Manuela Lucà-Dazio for her wise counsel. We thank Georges Poncet and Charles Duprat for photographing work in the studio. We warmly thank Jean-Philippe Simard for his photographs of Anselm Kiefer’s work exhibited at La Tourette. Those photographs constitute the memory of this exhibition. We very sincerely thank Brigitte Bouvier, director of the Fondation Le Corbusier, for her encouragement and support of our activities. We wish to thank Sylvie Ramond, director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, and Isabelle Bertolotti, director of the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon and the artistic director of La Biennale de Lyon, for their encouragement in organizing this exhibition. We would like to sincerely thank all those who lent their assistance and support in organizing the exhibition and publication of this book. We are grateful for their trust in us as we carried out this project:

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Étienne Piquet-Gauthier and the members of the board of the Fondation SaintIrénée; Jean-Luc Logel and Philippe Volay of Société Iris; Loïc Thomas of Société Pierre Cotte; Sandrine Laporte, Denis Ribon, and Vincent Guillaumot of ArchiMed; Étienne de Baecque of Société de Vente aux Enchères; Olivier de la Barre of AIA Life Designers; and Mr. Hans-Ewald Schneider of Hasenkamp. Gilles Blanckaert; Catherine Blézat; Marc and Thérèse Bouchayer; Lavinia Bruneau; Dominique Capart; Jean-Marie Chanon; Suzanne Chauveau; Isabelle Collon; Gilles de Courtivron; Jacques Gaillard; Jacques and Brigitte Gairard; Dominique and Denise Gaspard-Huit; Frédérique Liénart; Jean-Jacques Morel; Brigitte Nessler; Jacqueline Rérolle; Jean-Michel Rey; Pierre Schuster; Pierre Voutay; and Heidi Weiler. Wholehearted thanks are extended to all those who contributed to the efficient installation of the exhibition with good cheer: Karl Meisenberg and Christian of Hasenkamp; Elias Wallach, Tony Fernandes, and Julien Feyerabend of Atelier Anselm Kiefer; Jörg Gessner; Antonin Boyhrev; and Virgile Caspar. Thanks also to Gagosian for proposing and coordinating an English edition of this publication. At Gagosian we are grateful to Larry Gagosian, Melissa Lazarov, Robin Vousden, Alison McDonald, Brett Garde, and Claudia Chow, who have worked with Atelier Anselm Kiefer and with us on this aspect of our project. We also thank Peter Willberg for his consultation on the design of the English edition of this book.

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PHOTOGRAPHY All work by Anselm Kiefer © Anselm Kiefer Le Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette designed by Le Corbusier: © F.L.C. / ADAGP, Paris / Artists Rights Society (ARS ), New York 2020 Cover and pp. 4, 8, 13, 190, and 195: © Waltraud Forelli; pp. 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, and 27: © Marc Chauveau; pp. 22, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 38, 41, 42, 45, 46, and 47: © Archives of Le Couvent de La Tourette. All rights reserved; p. 29: © René Burri, Magnum Photos; pp. 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 73, 74, and 75: © Anselm Kiefer; pp. 79, 81, 82, 83, 85, 89, 95, 96–97, 99, 105, 106, 107, 111, 116–17, 118–19, 122–23, 124, 125, 129, 134–35, 139, 142–43, 148, 152, and 154: © Jean-Philippe Simard; pp. 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 93, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, and 183: © Charles Duprat; and pp. 100–01, 102–03, 108–09, 110, 112–13, 115, 121, 126–27, 130, 131, 133, 136, 137, 141, 145, 146–47, 149, 150, 151, 153, 155, 156, 157, 158–59, 174, 175, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, and 189: © Georges Poncet

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Published on the occasion of the exhibition Anselm Kiefer à La Tourette Le Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, Éveux, France September 24–December 22, 2019 Publication © 2020 Gagosian in association with Le Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette, Bernard Chauveau Édition, and Atelier Anselm Kiefer Atelier Anselm Kiefer Director: Waltraud Forelli Coordinators: Anna Antoine, Eva König, Tony Fernandes, and Elias Wallach Bernard Chauveau Édition Managing editor: Bernard Chauveau Editorial coordinator: Léa Pietton Design and color separations: Bernard Lafont Copy editor: Carol Leimroth Gagosian Director: Robin Vousden Director of publications: Alison McDonald Publication manager: Brett Garde Publication coordinator: Claudia Chow Gagosian coordinators: Georges Armaos and Melissa Lazarov Translation from French by Molly Stevens Translation from German by Russell Stockman Copy editor: Polly Watson Design consultant, English edition: Peter Willberg Printed by Plitt GmbH, Oberhausen, Germany Gagosian 980 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10075 t. 212 744 2313 www.gagosian.com Le Couvent Sainte-Marie de La Tourette 69210 Éveux, France www.couventdelatourette.fr Bernard Chauveau Édition 36, rue de Turin 75008 Paris www.bernardchauveau.com

Bernard Chauveau Édition Conseil Art Galerie

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or reproduced in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information retrieval system, without prior written permission from the copyright holders. ISBN: 978-1-938748-91-2

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L E COUVEN T S A INTE -M AR IE D E L A TO U R ETTE Exhibition History

2009 La Tourette/Le cinquantenaire 1959–2009 François Morellet 2010 La Tourette/Dialogue(s) Vera Molnar, Stéphane Couturier, Ian Tyson 2011 La Tourette/Modulations Alan Charlton 2012 La Tourette/Derrière le visible Éric Michel 2013 La Tourette/Mémoire des murs Anne and Patrick Poirier 2015 La Tourette/Anish Kapoor chez Le Corbusier Anish Kapoor 2016 La Tourette/Formes du silence Geneviève Asse, Jaromir Novotny, Friederike von Rauch, Michel Verjux 2017 La Tourette/Au-delà des souvenirs Lee Ufan

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A NS E L M KIE FE R

À LA TOURE TTE

ANSE L M K I EF ER À LA T O U R E T T E

Bernard Chauveau Édition

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