Cette obscure clarté qui tombe des étoiles [the dark light falling from the stars] (1999)
About this artwork
This installation comprises a painting and sculpture displayed together with fragments of lead and glass. The painting's surface is cracked and broken, created using a combination of wood, straw and paint, mixed with clay and shellac. Kiefer’s bookcase is equally damaged. Completely unreadable, the decaying manuscripts perhaps symbolize the destruction of German-Jewish literature during the Nazi books burnings in 1933. The French title, meaning "The dark light that falls from the stars", is taken from 'Le Cid' by Corneille and refers to Kiefer’s relationship to France, which offered freedom from the weight of Germany’s troubled past.
- title: Cette obscure clarté qui tombe des étoiles [the dark light falling from the stars]
- accession number: AR00041
- artist: Anselm KieferGerman (born 1945)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Installation
- materials: Acrylic paint, oil paint, shellac, earth, sand, wood, paper and glass on 2 canvases, lead, iron, books and other materials
- date created: 1999
- measurements: 470.00 x 400.00 cm; 340.00 x 165.00 x 110.00 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
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.