Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow
Taking its title from the biblical story of Lilith, this idiosyncratic documentary from Sophie Fiennes immerses us in the work of German artist Anselm Keifer. Back in the early 1990s the latter left his native country and took over a derelict silk factory near Barjac in the south of France. He has since constructed a series of remarkable installations on this site, building a kind of parallel universe containing tunnels, mazes, bridges, towers, studios, columns, and even an amphitheatre.
For the first 20 minutes, accompanied by Gyorgy Ligeti’s modernist music, we don’t see a human being, as Fiennes’ widescreen camera glides, tracks and pans its way around these man-made constructions. This isn’t a film that seeks to ‘explain’ the motivations of its subject, or to locate him within a particular tradition. Instead we get to watch Keifer (and his team of assistants) forge his monumental artifacts: dust is sprayed over enormous canvases, glass plates are shattered over the floor, raw materials are melted into shape in kilns, whilst mechanical diggers churn away in underground chambers. It’s a demanding but interesting study into the physical process of large scale artistic creation.
GFT, Glasgow, Fri 15 & Sat 16 Oct.