German painter and sculptor, Anselm Kiefer, was "fortunate" enough to have had the entire continent of Europe as his canvas. Born in 1945 in postwar Europe, Kiefer has spent his entire career exploring how his country rebuilt itself in the aftermath of World War II.
Kiefer is unique in that he never steered clear of, or avoided, his country's controversial past history. The guilt and horror of the Holocaust and the Nazi rule wasn't something represented in art previously. Kiefer took on that subject with a vengeance. Early on, Kiefer incorporated German mythology into his works; and in the following years, he tested out the idea of the Kabbalah. His themes, throughout his career, have continued to include Hebrew and Egyptian history. As you can see, his range is quite wide.
Incorporating materials such as ash, clay and straw, the pieces Kiefer creates aren't filled with hope and lightness. Nevertheless, they are important in ensuring that we understand the pragmatism of regaining a corrupted culture after the horrors of it's past.