Anselm Kiefer: Walhalla 

The great German artist’s latest creation fills the White Cube at Bermondsey with some of the darkest images of death and destruction I have seen in recent years. Lead-lined walls loom over a gloomy corridor of battlefield hospital beds. The metal walls continue in rooms opening up on the right which are filled with grey items recalling Wagnerian and Norse mythological heroes. The atmosphere is doom-laden and Stygian – yet exhilarating too. In a fabulous juxtaposition, the rooms on the left of the corridor are ablaze with white light and are filled with stunning installations such as the extraordinary Walkyrie, vast mixed-media panoramas of leaning towers and, best of all, a huge flower-spangled landscape called – with a nice nod to the Catholic Mass – nubes pluant. Walhalla may not have the sheer visceral power of the Chapman brothers’ Hell but the Manichaean contrasts created by Kiefer are just as relentlessly and unsettlingly hypnotic. 

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