Visualising interior space
Parsifal III


Deutschlands Geisteshelden (Germany’s Spiritual Heroes), 1973

Anselm Kiefer, more usually a landscape painter, creates huge canvases that deal with German history and myths, his occasional interiors which normally have a portentous sense of place seem also to be treated like landscapes, epic, monumental and with a strength to the floor that seems to come from his landscape painting where he often mixes earth and ash to his ground. The intense and layered textures and the large scale makes for a oscillation between 2d and 3d. Like the late German writer WG Sebald, also a self-imposed exile, he covers some of the same territory of memory, time and identity. With both Sebald and Kiefer the world is seen under the crushing weight of nature and history. A good essay here on the connection between the two. Sebald however always thought the practice of painting to be questionable (Vertigo, last chapter) and sometimes it seems these themes are more successfully dealt with through the modesty and ambiguity of text. Kiefer also resorts to text; poems, slogans painted or scratched into his work as a kind of soundt
rack to the images.