In 2011 I posted Hunting down Anselm Kiefer in Barjac, France, an article describing our visit to the former Anselm Kiefer studios near Barjac in Southern France. A few months ago I received an email from a very old, very good friend of mine, letting me know that he had moved to a village not far from Barjac. And that he had found my blog and said article while searching for information on Anselm Kiefer and his time in the area. Funny coincidences.
This last week I traveled down there again to visit my friend, and naturally we also went to Barjac, to see how things have evolved around “La Ribaute”.
We parked our car near one of the back entrances and walked around the whole compound in a clockwise direction, trying to follow the fence, which at times is impossible, because of shrubs and other terrain issues. Again I took as many photos as I could. Some of the views were much better this time, since in winter the trees have no leaves. The fences and roads looked like they are well taken care of, however some of the art work seemed rough, further decomposed by weather and time.
When we reached the area around the main gate I noticed big changes compared to our last visit. Quite a few trees have been cut down around there, and we noticed construction workers that were … doing something. At first we couldn’t make it out, we were not sure if they were tearing it down or building a new one shed. After a moment of observation we were convinced these were new structures being built. In another area further up the hill we spotted many shipping containers. Something was definitely happening here, but we did not know who was responsible. Was it the departement who was fixing up things? Or was it Kiefer himself?
As we walked further we saw two cars emerge from the gate. We stopped one of them to ask them some questions, and they told us that it was Anselm Kiefer who orders and oversees the work. Apparently he is in Barjac quite often, once every two, three weeks. Some of the new, huge buildings get built just to store one big piece of art. “Oh you know, this is a different dimension of an artist” one of the workers said with a admiring smile. The other guy showed us some photos how it looked inside on his mobile phone.
This is very good news. It seems that Anselm Kiefer is back in Barjac and working on his project again, at least in some way. I am not sure what his aim is. Will he use this compound just to store art? Or will he also keep developing his original vision of the art park? We hope it’s the latter. This would be so amazing and great.
When we drove off after our walk, we met a huge group of hunters wearing their neon-colored protective-gear. I regret it now, but I didn’t dare to take a photo, because at first they looked so threatening. The vibe was tense, what with their guns and dogs. We asked one of them, how the hunt had gone today. Just one wild boar. With all these people, we asked? They laughed. So did we and drove off.
Dear Mr. Kiefer
if you ever google yourself and happen to find this little blog, we would love it, if you can invite us to visit La Ribaute and the gorgeous installations. We are also very interested to hear what the plans are for La Ribaute. We would love to see something happening there, the idea was great, it still is, and the region is amazing.