new-york

Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2010, airplane fuselage, photographs, lead, inscribed glass, steel vitrine; oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, and clay on canvas, 10' 6 1/2“ x 18' 4 1/2” x 7' 6 5/8".

Anselm Kiefer

Gagosian | 522 West 21st Street

Anselm Kiefer, Merkaba, 2010, airplane fuselage, photographs, lead, inscribed glass, steel vitrine; oil, emulsion, acrylic, shellac, and clay on canvas, 10' 6 1/2“ x 18' 4 1/2” x 7' 6 5/8".

In “Next Year in Jerusalem,” Anselm Kiefer’s recent show at Gagosian, the artist presented twenty-five steel-framed vitrines of varying dimensions. The cases were filled with all manner of detritus: mounds of rubble, capsized warships, fleets of U-boats, burned-out airplane hulls, Kabbalistic arcana, dangling wedding gowns and shroudlike garments, dried sunflowers, burned books, ashen rolls of film, bramble, tree stump and root, plaster, clay, lead, smashed glass—in short, they represented Kiefer’s Wotan-like self-immolation within an arcane symbolism toward which he has ever been drawn.

Indeed, Kiefer here assumes the aspect of a feverish Talmudist transfixed by G. G. Scholem, whose texts on Jewish mysticism are fundamental to our understanding of the Kabbalah—the recondite school of thought from which a goodly portion of this exhibition’s themes derive: Lilith, Sefiroth,

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the February 2011 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.