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Fine Art

Anselm Kiefer’s postwar exploration

April 26, 2017

Kiefer’s work is uncompromising in its response to the disasters of World War II and other historical traumas. Born two months before the surrender of Germany, Kiefer was among the first generation of German artists to address Nazism, the war, and the horrors of the Holocaust. 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 has never 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 to the extent of his expression: Kiefer took on that subject with a vengeance since the beginning of his career in 1969. References to Northern European mythology, composer Richard Wagner’s operas, the history of German philosophy and culture, and the country’s historical predilection for Romantic landscape painting are recurring themes in Kiefer’s work. He also explores how Hitler and the Nazis used symbols and gestures to embolden and empower the German people and how these symbols and gestures have come to provoke sorrow, fear, anger, and remorse.

Incorporating materials such as ash, clay and straw, the pieces The epic scale and perspective of Kiefer’s work sweeps viewers into his pictorial realm, where they may find themselves searching their own consciences.

Drawn from the Hall and Hall Art Foundation collections, one of the world’s largest holdings of his work, this exhibition the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) Art Museum includes more than fifty of Kiefer’s artist books, works on paper, paintings, and sculptures from 1969 to 2013.

Anselm Kiefer, The Fertile Crescent, 2009. Mixed media on canvas, 330 X 762 X 7 cm (130″ X 300″ X 2.8″)

Image courtesy of: South Florida Luxury Guide

Anselm Kiefer, Die Orden der Nacht (The Orders of the Night), 1996, acrylic, emulsion, and shellac on canvas. From the collection of the Seattle Art Museum

Image courtesy of: Hyper Allergic

Anselm Kiefer, Margarethe, 1981, oil, acrylic, emulsion, and straw on canvas. From the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Image courtesy of: Hyper Allergic