ANSELM KIEFER merkaba, 2010

anselmkefer

Curator and art historian Mark Rosenthal has written of Germany’s Spiritual Heroes, a painting where historical meaning is superimposed upon a setting of personal significance, Kiefer’s former studio in a rural schoolhouse:
“The most monumental work of 1973, and the last of [an] important series, is Germany’s Spiritual Heroes. On six strips of burlap sewn together, Kiefer drew perspective lines to form a deep theatrical space. The viewer is placed at the entrance of the cavernous room, slightly off center, engulfed by the wooden beams…The interior is at once a memorial hall and crematorium. Eternal fires burn along the wall as if in memory of the individuals, but the lower edge of the painting is darkened in a manner that suggests it has been singed. This highly flammable wooden room is in danger of burning, and with it Germany and its heroes will be destroyed…Kiefer’s attitude about a Germany whose spiritual heroes are in fact transitory and whose deeply felt ideals are vulnerable is not only ambivalent but also sharply biting and ironical…these great figures and their achievements are reduced to just names, recorded not in a marble edifice but in the attic of a rural schoolhouse.”

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