without a doubt some of our favorite things come from germany; cars, waffles, and war, one of my personal favorites being women. anselm kiefer choses to focus in on one of germany’s most respected avenues, capturing war from a heroic standpoint. few would admit adolf hitler a hero, but even still would acknowledge the beauty with which kiefer displays his symbolisms. kiefer’s heroic symbols series captures hitler in salute in various landscapes nd settings appropriated from art history. the young kiefer exorcizes the ghost of the past by means of his own body with more than forty years of this pristine work in his vault, it is understandable why anselm keifer is considered one of the most influential modern contemporary artists.
kiefer uses vergangenheitsbewältigung, coming to terms with the past, in a modern light, subjecting viewers to a personal truth. kiefer’s explorations of the nazi past transcends postwar taboos against visual nd verbal icons of the third reich. while irony brings to question earth’s place with heaven and in turn questioning beauty.
often alluding to german culture either directly or by strong implication nd evoking the uses nd misuses to which the visual nd verbalpropaganda of the third reich subjected them, kiefer has stated in reference to this national legacy of wwii; “[a]fter the ‘misfortune,’ as we all name it so euphemistically now, people thought that in 1945 we were starting all over again… it’s nonsense. the past was put under taboo, nd to dig it up again generates resistance nd disgust.” this is the reason i appreciate kiefer’s heroric symbols. it forces you to address an instance that is often overlooked for it’s greatness, along with crossing the mythology of other periods where kiefer questions theories like one’s “head in the clouds” versus the sound of a collapsing tree nd one’s “head in the forest”.
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