THE ANCIENT DREAM OF transcending both the physical and the symbolic limitations imposed on us by gravity—a dream expressed in the myth of Icarus—has often appeared in Anselm Kiefer’s iconography/ cosmography. The symbolic icons of the wing, the palette, the fire, and the snake/angel, in, works such as Ikarus—märkischer Sand (Icarus—Mark sand, 1981) and Die Ordnung der Engel (The order of the angels, 1983–84), testify to the inextricable rapport Kiefer sees between historical events and celestial metaphysics. In Kiefer’s attempt to view the vicissitudes of history from a privileged artistic position, Icarus becomes the alter ego for the artist, providing the metaphor for both aspiration to transcendence and the inevitable fall that may follow his doomed dream, and thus, ultimately, suggesting the complexities in the idea of utopian salvation. Now, in his most recent show of work from 1989,

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