Journal Article

Can Heaven Bear the Weight of History? The ‘Spirituality of Concrete’ in the Work of Anselm Kiefer

Wessel Stoker

in Literature and Theology

Volume 24, issue 4, pages 397-410
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online November 2010 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frq049
Can Heaven Bear the Weight of History? The ‘Spirituality of Concrete’ in the Work of Anselm Kiefer

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The theme of heaven and earth has been present in Anselm Kiefer's work from the beginning (The Heavens 1969). In this article I will explore the spirituality of Kiefer's work, particularly his view of transcendence in works in which he makes use of Jewish mysticism. In doing so, I will be discussing, among others, Mark Taylor's, Daniel Arasse's and Donald Kuspit's interpretations of Kiefer's paintings. Kiefer's ‘spirituality of concrete’ has not only a melancholic, leaden tone of grey but also a hopeful stripe of light. It does not concern a transcendence irreparably torn from this world but a transcendence in which there is a direct connection between heaven and earth. Kiefer's ‘spirituality of concrete’ expresses immanent transcendence as an open question to heaven with a gleam of hope.

Journal Article.  6210 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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