Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer, “Seven Heavenly Palaces”

Kiefer, born 1945 in Donaueschingen and long considered to be one of the most important German artists alive, gave each of the towers its own name: “Falling Stars,” “Sternenlager,” “Die Sefiroth,” “Tzim-Tzum,” “Shevirat Ha-Kelim,” “Tiqqun,” and “The Seven Heavenly Palaces.” For Kiefer, an important point of reference was the myth of creation in ancient Jewish mystical literature describing man’s part in God’s word.

Yet the artist has taken other points of reference into consideration in his work, as well, some of which are decidedly contemporary by comparison: in his usage of the material cement and his orientation along the customary dimensions of a shipping container, Kiefer establishes connections to present life marked more than ever before by globalization and possibility.

Kiefer, who has been living and working in Barjac, France since 1993, understands the universalism expressed in these works as an apt image of our time at the beginning of the 21st century. The cross-references and symbolism in “The Seven Heavenly Palaces,” which operates on several levels simultaneously, are numerous.

With the Sefiroth tower, for instance, the painter, sculptor, and installation artist takes recourse to the three mythological paths open to mankind for lending life order and meaning, according to ancient Jewish tradition: love, sympathy, and strength.

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