Anselm Kiefer (German, b. 1945)
oil paint, ash, stucco, chalk, linseed oil, polymer emulsion, salt and applied elements (e.g., copper heating coil), on canvas, attached to lead foil, on plywood panels, . Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 1990.8.b
As a German artist, Kiefer struggles with the aftermath of the Holocaust and creates work that engages history, ethical issues of the present, and German identity through images emblematic of Nazi sites. This barren, deeply recessed landscape is based on Kiefer’s photos of train tracks in France. The raw natural materials and destructive artistic process symbolize human tragedy. A substructure of lead mounted on wood is marked by footprints and tire tracks, plastered, burned, and covered with ash. Salt, applied to the upper half of the work, connects the historical event with the biblical narrative of Lot’s escape from Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife, who disobeyed warnings not to look back at God’s destruction of the cities, was turned into a pillar of salt.