Anselm Kiefer Is Thrilled About Gagosian’s New Paris Space and Is Reminded of a Poem

Mr. Kiefer. (Courtesy Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images)

A press release about the Anselm Kiefer show that will inaugurate Gagosian’s new gallery in the north of Paris at Le Bourget this fall just landed in our inbox, and it reveals that Mr. Kiefer is pretty excited about the building, especially because it is near an airport. (The artist is perhaps best known for his jumbo-sized sculptures of airplanes.) Below, his complete endorsement:

Gagosian’s daring new Paris gallery is a delight. Both the architecture and location captivate and enchant me. Situated on the edge of an airfield–similar to my own studio in Croissy–airplanes arrive and depart while my works hang there. The pictures arrive, stay for a while, and, once seen, can leave again. This is the objective. The flights, the paintings, the comings, the goings. The space is so inspiring that you can envision the artworks in it immediately. It makes me think of the poem “Unter den Linden”(Under the Linden Trees) by Walther von der Vogelweide.

Oh? You want to read “Unter den Linden” now? Gagosian has that covered:

Under the lime trees
On the heather,
Where we had shared a place of rest,
Still you may find there,
Lovely together,
Flowers crushed and grass down-pressed.
Beside the forest in the vale,
Sweetly sang the nightingale.

I came to meet him
At the green:
There was my true love come before.
Such was I greeted –
Heaven’s Queen! –
That I am glad for evermore.
Had he kisses? A thousand some:
See how red my mouth’s become.

There he had fashioned
For luxury
A bed from every kind of flower.

—Walther von der Vogelweide (c. 1170-1230), “Under den linden” (Under the lime trees), translation by Raymond Oliver

This is pretty much the best news release ever. It also includes the poem in French. This time Ernest Combes is the translator. Here we go:

Sous les tilleuls,
Sur la bruyère,
On a dormi : nous étions seuls.
Ô doux mystère
Que dut trahir
L’herbe et les fleurs qu’on dut flétrir!
Bois ombreux ! fraîche vallée!
Ô chanson d’amour envolée!

Cœur tout tremblant
Je suis venue –
Dejà m’attendait mon amant.
Je fus reçue,
Vierge des cieux!
À ne désirer jamais mieux.
Ses baisers ! ô douce chose!
Voyez comme ma bouche est rose!

Puis il cueillit
Des fleurs pour faire
Tout en riant un petit lit;
De la bergère
Comme il rira
Le passant qui par là viendra !
Fleur des champs, terre jonchée –
Dit où ma tête était couchée.

À mon côté
J’aurais grand’honte
Si l’on savait qu’il est resté.
Nul ne raconte,
Même tout bas,
Nos doux jeux, nos plus doux ébats!
Un oiseau seul nous vit faire –
Mais petit oiseau sait se taire.

Can’t wait to hear what Mr. Kiefer’s opinion is of the huge space that his Paris dealer Thaddeaus Ropac is opening this fall, which is also being inaugurated with a show of his work. Anselm Kiefer Is Thrilled About Gagosian’s New Paris Space and Is Reminded of a Poem