The burden of a national legacy: An examination of Anselm Kiefer's reflections on the German past
Rice, Kolya Michael
Master of Arts thesis
Anselm Kiefer's empathic approach to Germany's past, particularly its period of National Socialism, has provoked heated controversy among art critics and historians. The first section of this paper examines and critiques a sample of the discourse on the subject, drawing the primary conclusion that postwar Germany's peculiar cultural and political context, which has been neglected, is of fundamental importance to understanding Kiefer's mediations. The second section juxtaposes a sample of Kiefer's work against this context, drawing attention to the psychological resonances of National Socialism which continue to haunt Germany and which find their way into the artist's work.