Anselm Kiefer, Das Buch (The Book), M.85.376 Overview Excerpted from J. Patrice Marandel, Claudia Einecke, eds., Los Angeles County Museum of Art: European Art (Paris: Fondation Paribas, 2006). Born in 1945, [Anselm Kiefer] is a major figure among the post-World War II generation who returned to the tradition of figurative painting after the rise of conceptual art and other experimental mediums. He investigates themes of nationality and identity through the use of recurring symbolic and mythological references. His early work included performative elements, and he has created a small number of artist's books and sculptures that incorporate unusual components such as metal and straw. Kiefer is best known for his paintings. Das Buch (1980) is one of his few sculptures. It is composed of a monumental span of wings attached to an oversized book-two recurring motifs in his work. The wings may allude to the myth of Icarus (who fell to his death when he flew too close to the sun and melted the wax that held his wings together), while the book for Kiefer often symbolizes the Jewish people (often referred to as "The People of the Book"). Linked as they are here, the wings and the book constitute a powerful metaphor for the aspirations and the tragedy of the Jewish people in the twentieth century. The work embodies Kiefer's ongoing critique of German nationalism and its aftermath.More...
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