High School

One, No One, a Hundred Thousand

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
In his Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 Anselm Kiefer uses several objects imbued with a value that goes beyond what they represent: the tower, the book, the ship and numbered glass shards. The latter help us discover the star, the recurrent element in our daily life, geographical and political history, and – above all – religions. We will see how a seemingly commonplace image can hold countless meanings that are universal and subjective, immediate and hidden, shared and personal.
We will learn that each object can invoke an invisible world that goes beyond its mere representation: form and content, significant and significance, do not always coincide. The symbol is something different from what it appears to be, the visible part of that which is not present.

Focus Areas
• History
• Italian
• Religion
• History of art
• Philosophy

Educational Objectives
The young people will be asked to reflect on the multiplicity of senses that an image contains, learning to go beyond appearance to glean the true value that is concealed behind forms. They will understand the difference between sign and symbol, and the fact that, at times, they can be universal and shared by all, whereas at other times they are strictly subjective.

Activities
Starting with the recognition and interpretation of the symbols in The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, they will ponder the broader concept of symbols and the contexts in which they are used. Therefore, starting from the assumption that any daily object can remain such, but can also acquire a myriad of meanings, the young people will be asked to choose an object, form, fruit or word that best represents them, to which they will attribute a content and meaning that will make them their own personal symbol, on a strictly subjective level.

Thematic Activities: Matt Mullican and Anselm Kiefer – Two contemporary languages of expression

“The Feeling of Things” by Matt Mullican

Introduction
Matt Mullican (b. 1951 in Santa Monica, CA) is a leading figure on the international art scene, active since the early 1970s; in a career of over four decades, he has developed a vocabulary and repertoire of signs and symbols that offer a kaleidoscopic vision of the universe: a classification system that divides reality into “Five Worlds,” corresponding to different levels of perception and represented by five different colors. His work constantly investigates the relationship between reality and perception, in an attempt to explain and organize every aspect of the human condition.

Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany) is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. The hallmark of his work is a distinctive use of both natural and artificial materials, often infused with multiple symbolic meanings, which are brought together in his permanent installation Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015 at Pirelli HangarBicocca.

Focus areas

  • Italian
  • Philosophy
  • Art history

Activity
The workshop will take the form of a guided tour, visiting both the Matt Mullican exhibition “The Feeling of Things” and Anselm Kiefer’s permanent installation The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015; it will compare the artistic languages used by the two artists, especially the different ways they incorporate symbols into their works.

Thematic Activities: Anselm Kiefer and Multi-material Painting

“The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015” by Anselm Kiefer

Introduction
Five large paintings from between 2009 and 2013, on display for the first time, enrich and expand The Seven Heavenly Palaces 2004-2015, the permanent work by Anselm Kiefer, bringing new meaning to it by creating an interaction between the installation and the new paintings. An in-depth analysis of Anselm Kiefer’s artistic practice reflects on the core aspects of his work, including the relationship between man and nature, and references to the history of ideas and Western philosophy.

Focus Areas
• History of Art
• Italian and Foreign Literature
• History
• Religion

Activities
The course will consist of two parts: the first in the form of a brief face-to-face lesson, with images showing the use of materials in Anselm Kiefer’s art from the 1970s onwards. In the second, the children will be accompanied by the arts tutors around the exhibition to observe and analyse the five paintings in relation to the Heavenly Palaces. At the end of the activity, they will be given a small fascicle with the key notions explained during the lecture.

Further information