Urd, Verndandi, Skuld (Die Nornen) [Urd, Verdandi, Skuld (The Norns)] (1983)
About this artwork
Between 1980 and 1983, Kiefer made paintings that revisited images of Hitler’s monumental architecture. Using old photographs and architectural plans, Kiefer transformed symbols of Nazi authority into derelict building-sites. In this work, the vaulted structure contains the unseen presence of the Norns, the three figures of fate in Germanic mythology, named Past, Present and Future. Their names are scratched into the ceiling, while below a glowing fire points to salvation and regeneration. Drawing on the artist’s fascination with Norse folklore and Wagnerian motifs, the work reflects his attempts to reconcile his country’s recent history through the myths of Germanic legend.
- title: Urd, Verndandi, Skuld (Die Nornen) [Urd, Verdandi, Skuld (The Norns)]
- accession number: AR00036
- artist: Anselm KieferGerman (born 1945)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Painting
- subject: Perspective
- materials: Oil paint, shellac, emulsion and fibre on canvas
- date created: 1983
- measurements: 420.50 x 280.50 x 6.00 cm
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © ANSELM KIEFER
The German artist Anselm Kiefer gained prominence in 1969 with a series of photographs called 'Occupations', in which he was pictured giving the Nazi salute in various locations in Europe. This was Kiefer's first attempt to deal with Germany's recent cultural and political history, an ongoing theme in his work. From the 1980s the artist also began to explore other histories, taking nordic mythology, literary and biblical themes and Jewish mysticism as subjects. Kiefer's heavily textured, large-scale artworks (including books as well as paintings) are created with unusual but symbolic materials, such as lead, straw, cloth and tar.