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Anselm Kiefer Installation an International Coup for the AGO

Work of epic scale and vision gets Canadian premiere

(TORONTO - February 8, 2010) Acclaimed international artist Anselm Kiefer's monumental installation Palmsonntag (Palm Sunday) is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario this March. Kiefer, known for his epic themes and operatic flair, will be adapting and adding to the installation for its Canadian premiere at the AGO, opening March 4 and continuing through August 1.

Palmsonntag is composed of a 40-foot-long palm tree, cast in fiberglass and resin, that lies on its side across the Gallery floor, surrounded by a cycle of 44 massive panels hanging in rows on the walls above. The panels, eight of which Kiefer is creating specifically for the AGO exhibition, combine paint, plaster, mud, wood, human hair, dried plant materials and rusted chastity belts, among other materials - forming a massive collage of images at once unnerving and expansive.

Palmsonntag blends religious symbols, ancient text scrawled in multiple languages, and images of fossilized decay in a work that deals with life, death and rebirth in equal measure, says AGO Curator of Contemporary Art David Moos. "Palmsonntag is an installation of profound impact," says Moos. "It must be seen, felt, and encountered. Its historical reach and epic vision are signatures of one of today's most important living artists."

"Anselm Kiefer is a major artist, an innovator and a visionary," says AGO Director and CEO Matthew Teitelbaum. "The AGO is proud to be a key destination for major international artists like Kiefer; Palmsonntag is an ideal addition to our spring season of contemporary art on the leading edge."

Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945. His works, often enormous in scale, are thematically rich with historical, spiritual and political allusions. His paintings and sculptures are in the collections of virtually every major museum of contemporary art in the world, including the MOMA, the Tate and the Louvre.

Anselm Kiefer: Palmsonntag will be installed in the AGO's fifth-floor galleries, which will be closed for the month of February to prepare the space for the work. Earlier versions of Palmsonntag have been shown at the Grand Palais in Paris and at the Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles. Palmsonntag is exhibited courtesy of Galerie Samuel Lallouz, Montreal. Contemporary programming at the AGO is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Anselm Kiefer: Palmsonntag opens in conjunction with the contemporary sculpture exhibition Sculpture as Time: Major Works. New Acquisitions. - also opening March 4. The rest of the AGO's winter exhibition season focuses on new and established masters of contemporary art, and includes the exhibitions Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization?, Rembrandt / Freud: Etchings from Life and Françoise Sullivan: Inner Force - Winner of the 2008 Gershon Iskowitz Prize at the AGO. Additionally, King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs continues until April 18.

Anselm Kiefer: Palmsonntag is generously supported by Metropia Communities, and Senator Linda Frum and Howard Sokolowski.


With a permanent collection of more than 79,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery's façade; and the feature staircase, spiralling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from David Altmejd's monumental installation The Index to Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.


For more images and more information contact:

Sean O'Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403,

Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454,

The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture. Additional operating support is received from the Volunteers of the AGO, the City of Toronto, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canada Council for the Arts.


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