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Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945)
Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945)

Die Sieben HimmelsPaläste

Details
Anselm Kiefer (b. 1945)
Die Sieben HimmelsPaläste
titled 'Die sieben himmelspaläste' (on the cover)
oil, emulsion, shellac, and soil on original photographs on board and artist's metal stand
book, closed: 39 1/2 x 30 x 7 in. (100.3 x 76.2 x 17.7 cm.)
book, open: 39 1/2 x 60 x 3 1/2 in. (100.3 x 152.4 x 8.9 cm.)
artist's stand: 40 3/4 x 59 x 38 1/2 in. (103.5 x 149.8 x 97.8 cm.)
Executed in 2005.
Provenance
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Alex Berggruen
Alex Berggruen

Lot Essay

“Before coming in the presence of God, the Ioréd—he who wants to come and climb the merkava staircase—often represented by Kiefer as an actual reinforced concrete flight of stairs (or as a lead battle ship)—have first to pass through the seven heavenly palaces/Chambers”—Fabrizio Tramontano
Executed in 2005, the pages of Anselm Kiefer’s Die Sieben HimmelsPaläste (translated from Kiefer’s native German as The Seven Heavenly Palaces) displays both the physical and metaphorical manifestations of the artist’s monumental merkava staircases. Exhibited to dramatic effect in the courtyard of the Royal Academy, London during the artist’s critically acclaimed retrospective in 2014, these teetering forms have become one of the most recognizable motifs in the artist’s oeuvre. On the pages of this large-scale book, Kiefer has laid down photographs of towers which he has then encrusted with a thick layer of cracked soil and dried remnants of earth. Each open spread of the book portrays a different evocation of the haunting desolation thereby creating a powerful counterpoint to the traditional view of the glories of Heaven.
Speaking in 2004, a year before he executed the present work, Kiefer stated, “…heaven and earth are a paradox because heaven and earth don’t exist anymore. The earth is round. The cosmos has no up and down. It is moving constantly. We can no longer fix the stars to create an ideal place. This is our dilemma” (A. Kiefer, quoted by P. Hatley, Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth, exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art of Fort Worth, 2004, New York, p. 165). Thus, Die Sieben HimmelsPaläste forms part of the artist’s treatise on issues of religious and secular identity along with his signature excavations into the German people’s accountability and relationship to icons and events in recent history.

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