Caption: Walhalla, 1992-2016.Ben Westoby. Courtesy White Cube Gallery.
A petrified and paralyzed atmosphere pervading the White Cube for the last Anselm Kiefer’s London exhibition.
Everything looks wrapped into a metallic mantle in the morbid paradise called ‘Walhalla’: a long dark grey corridor of steel beds gives the access to rooms decorated by sinister fóssils such as soiled bleached clothes, stones, or small trees cut-out sections of earth put into shrines.
The contrast between the lively and curious spectators and the smell of death of the place is certainly impressive.
A dark symbolism pervades the exhibition; Walhalla refers to the soldiers’ paradise in Norse mythology and it is strictly related to the figure of the Valkyries; women who had the power to decide who would live or die in battle and who had the role of accompanying the deaths to their paradise. One of the sculptures, a spiral staircase with bleached clothes laying on that, wonderfully express the moment when the Valkyries arrived at Walhalla, evoking loss and abandon.
Kiefer used once again art as a threshold for a mythic and distorted dimension. The whole exhibition initially appears completely far from reality, and just scaring but after a moment of reflection the current disasters provoked by the war every day in many countries seem to be not so far from this representation.