In OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW, director Sophie Fiennes provides a cinematic examination of an artist at work. However, this is no small task. For the past 30 years Anselm Kiefer, a German painter and sculptor whose works have been featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others, and his small team of assistants have been working to transform an 86-acre abandoned silk factory to a colossal multilevel work of art. Working with various mediums, themes, and ideas, Kiefer’s work is a fascinating subject for this truly elegant film.
Kiefer traditionally deals in heavy subjects such as the Holocaust and this is no different. Drawing on biblical passages that describe the destruction of once-glorious man-made creations, in this apocalyptic project, destruction is the primary form of creation. There is a certain sense of exhilaration when you hear the artist say, “I think it needs more acid,” and watch as a gigantic lead book slowly degrades and takes on interesting colors and characteristics. Or the slight feeling of terror when you witness real books getting placed in a fire on a skewer, but emerge with the pages transformed into big flakes of ash stacked one on top of the other in beautiful shapes.
OVER YOUR CITIES GRASS WILL GROW takes you on an unforgettable tour of this vast work-in-progress, presenting the tiniest detail with as much grandeur as the massive sculptures, the artist at work, and the artist explaining his work. For obvious reasons this exhibit will not be traveling to a city near you, so be sure to catch this gorgeous documentary at Violet Crown Cinema this week!