by Nathalie Azoulai
What modern painter could paint sunflowers without recalling those Van Gogh painted in 1888 and 1889 ? When it comes to art innocence and amnesia are unrelevant. Whereas Van Gogh paints the radiant dynamic flowers struggling in a vase, Anselm Kiefer put them one by one in a field at night, watching over some dead half-naked man as Orders of the Night would . Whereas Van Gogh’s epitomized some vital strength, Kiefer’s turned out burnt to black, huge and as fatal as belligerent horsemen at night, definitely more like Goya or Manet. As if ashes had intruded the frame, invaded the vision, as if massive destruction had been obsessively inspiring Anselm Kiefer’s work. A big exhibition has just started at the London Royal Academy of Arts and will run till December 14.