ANSELM KIEFER AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY

Hello lovelies, I hope you're having a great week, despite the rainy days! Today I wanted to tell you all about a great exhibition I visited recently, that I thought you might like. Bizarrely, despite having lived a long time in London, I've never visited The Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly. For someone who counts visiting museums as one of the best ways to pass a free afternoon, this has been a big oversight! So, having the chance to go and have a nose around, thanks to Chestertons and their partnership with the Royal Academy, and to see what's been billed as 'the most exciting show in Britain this autumn' - well that was perfect. So on a rather spring-like autumnal day, I set off to admire the Anselm Kiefer exhibition...

Another highlight of the trip was getting to meet up with Rebecca from Living Abstracts. Rebecca was our wedding photographer, but since then a mutual love of art galleries, tea, cake, blogging and creativity has led us to meet up for regular catch-ups. I so love our times together, as Rebecca is super lovely, always encouragin and full of ideas. When we're together I dare to dream and our times always leave me feeling positive and bubbling with ideas. A mark of a good friend indeed!

The Anselm Kiefer exhibition starts as soon as you set foot into the courtyard of the Academy as one of Kiefer's works sits in all its bold glory.

Now, with it being an art gallery I didn't take any photos inside, so you'll have to take my word for it on two counts: first, the Royal Academy is beautiful. So, so beautiful. The building is steeped in history, which I know us Londonders can so often take for granted. Dating back to the 1700s, the history of this company of artists is fascinating. I think I spent the first fifteen minutes in the foyer area, gazing up at the incredible artworks that grace the ceiling. You must also take my word for it that the Kiefer exhibition is definitely one to go and enjoy while you can.

Born in Germany in 1945, Kiefer grew up in a country which faced the devastating burden of World War II. The themes of life, death, fairy tales, spirituality and the Holocaust all find themselves in Kiefer's work. As such, there is a feeling of weight and heaviness, as you take in the monumental pieces. And it's not just a metaphorical weight, but rather the literal weight of artworks which often incorporate thick layers of paint, mingled with other materials such as straw, lead and diamonds. When faced with artworks of such scale I am always bewildered by their sheer size, and wonder at how on earth the artist did it, just where did they even start?

Anselm Kiefer, Morgenthau Plan (detail), 2013. {Image via The Royal Academy of Arts}

Walking around, I felt drawn into Kiefer's world, where life inevitably gives way to death, yet where, amid the dust and debris, hope still stands. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Kiefer's handling of such heavy themes is remarkable and provocative. Indeed, some of his works incorporate a figure in various settings,  with its arm raised in a right armed salute. These are pieces that demand a longer look, and a deeper thought than any initial fleeting impression.

This powerful exhibition was only emphasised by the beauty and scale of the Academy space. All of the works felt at home in the setting, allowing visitors to flow through, taking in era by era of Kiefer's impressive work. The sheer size of the rooms and spaces between them allowed the work, whether monumental installations, large scale paintings or sculptures, to shine.

Another highlight of the trip, aside from the fascinating and provocative exhibition, was the Peyton and Byrne 'Grand Cafe'. With an interior designed by Tom Dixon, it was always going to be a classy affair. Rebecca and I pulled up a plush red chair, and enjoyed a lovely chat over a latte and a breakfast muffin {me} and an orange juice {Rebecca}. After having a lovely chat and curbing my hunger pangs, I left with a distinct feeling that I needed to add a Tox Dixon pendent light to my Christmas wish list... Plus, when we were leaving we spotted none other that Oliver Byrne himself in the cafe - I think if I owned a cafe this grand I'd frequent it too!

Anselm Kiefer is at the Royal Academy of Arts until December 14th - go, while you still have chance! You can book tickets here. A big thanks to Chestertons for inviting me to have such a fun {and thought-provoking} London adventure.

Have you been to any exhibitions recently? I'd love to hear your recommendations for galleries to visit, in London or otherwise!

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