The World, the Book, and Anselm Kiefer: Charles W. Haxthausen

Anselm Kiefer Breaking of the Vessels, 1990.

Anselm Kiefer. Breaking of the Vessels, 1990.

When the cultural history of the cold war configuration unofficially known as West Germany is written – a history that ended with German unification on 3rd October 1990 – a chapter should be devoted to the phenomenon of Anselm Kiefer. Within the visual arts, it is Kiefer who exemplifies most dramatically West Germany's rise to international prominence. He has been collected abroad on a scale and with a fervour unrivalled by Beuys or by any other post-war German – indeed, it can be said that no previous German artist has enjoyed such international celebrity within his or her own lifetime.

That it is Kiefer, rather than Beuys, Gerhard Richter, or another, who has achieved this distinction is replete with irony. For until recently, he was widely regarded in Germany as a national embarrassment, as a darkly atavistic neo-Romantic, enamoured of taboo national myths and images, steeped in a mode of feeling that had been irreversibly tainted by Nazi culture. After Kiefer's international debut at the 1980 Venice Biennale, German critics – as if eager to reassure the rest of the world – made him the Prugelknabe, the whipping boy, of the art press. But by the late 1980s something strange had happened: West Germany's most embarrassing cultural export had become its biggest success. By 1987 the newsweekly Der Spiegel was noting the 'sensational incongruity' between the sceptical, often hostile response to Kiefer in the Federal Republic and the enthusiastic reception abroad. And in 1990, the artist once alleged to be a neo-Nazi received further vindication when he was honoured by the cultural establishments of the United States, France, and – of all countries – Israel. It was now safe even for Germans to embrace Kiefer.

It was therefore timely that during the past few years, the German public has been given an opportunity to take another look at Kiefer, in not one but two exhibitions – his first museum shows in Germany since 1984. The first of these, which opened in September 1990 at the Kunsthalle in Tubingen (and was subsequently shown in Munich and Zurich), was a retrospective of Kiefer's handmade books, some eighty objects produced between 1969 and the present.[1] The second, organised for the Berlin Nationalgalerie by Angela Schneider and Mark Rosenthal in collaboration with the artist, presented paintings, sculptures, and works in lead, most of them dating from the last five years.[2] Although these two exhibitions were conceived independently, they nevertheless complemented each other in an illuminating and probably unintended way. While one surveyed Kiefer's development over two decades in the medium of the book, the other revealed how the book has now become a recurrent motif in Kiefer's paintings and sculptures. The authors of the Tubingen catalogue stress the importance of the book as an experimental medium, in which he has explored and developed most of his themes and material practices, but the evidence of both exhibitions suggests that the book is central to Kiefer's enterprise in even more profound ways.

Kiefer's books have little to do with that medium in its post-Gutenberg form. They are not printed, have not been 'published', and remain unique objects.[3] Nor do they consist primarily of texts in the narrow, linguistic sense: their discourse is essentially a visual discourse – whatever text appears usually takes the form of captions or inscriptions written directly onto the images. These images usually consist of reproduced material – photographs by Kiefer himself or illustrations clipped from conventional books or illustrated magazines – which he may then alter with paint or other materials. Although the photographic image is the most pervasive element in Kiefer's book production, he has employed at least as wide a range of materials in these works as he has in his paintings. Ash, hair, fingernails, copper wire, dried plants and flowers, wallpaper, sand, dried clay mud, ceramic shards, and, of course, Kiefer's favoured medium of lead: all of these and more are utilised in the books.

Familiarity with Kiefer's books stimulates fresh perceptions of his other work. Although many of the themes and techniques are found in both books and paintings, especially since the mid-70s, the accents often fall differently and certain qualities emerge more strongly in the books, awakening us to previously unperceived nuances and resonances in the paintings and sculptures. Especially striking in many of the earliest books is a pervasive spirit of child's play, a surprising feature if one knows Kiefer only as the saturnine creator of grandiose paintings and sculptures whose mournful surfaces seem to bear the traces of aeons of human suffering.

Some of the books of 1969-70 recall children's scrapbooks in their humble appearance and workmanship, with a droll flavour of the absurd in their choice of themes. Scherben (Shards, 1969) consists of 185 photographs of household porcelain fragments, and includes as an 'appendix for archaeologists and art historians' a 'catalogue of all extant shards', consisting of tiny photographic segments of each shard, pasted one to a page.[4] Three books of 1970, each titled Das Haarbuch, contain a total of 300 pages of hair samples and fingernail clippings. Two other volumes, Die Himmel (1969), are comprised mostly of isolated segments of sky, cut out of context, excised from snapshots of landscapes, magazine illustrations, and art reproductions. Scattered throughout the pages of these productions are occasional captions or commentaries inscribed in a naive, painstaking cursive script.

This childlike quality is also manifested in a series of books for which Kiefer adopted a narrative structure. These volumes are composed of a series of photographs made in the cellar of his studio in Hornbach, where he moved in 1971. There, on a floor densely covered with a thick layer of soil and dotted with model-railway houses, toy tanks, and toy soldiers, he staged historical battles; or, with model battle ships and submarines in a large zinc bathtub (a relic of the Third Reich), he implemented the aborted Nazi plan for the marine invasion of England, 'Operation Sea Lion'. All of these stagings abound in absurdities. In Bilderstreit ('Iconoclastic Controversy'), for example, the forces of the Byzantine Emperor Leo III, equipped with modern tanks, are pitted against the pro-image forces, represented by toy soldiers deployed on a gigantic clay palette. In some of these visual dramas Kiefer serves as a participant as well as director: in one, dressed in a nightshirt, he takes the part of Gilgamesh, wandering through the cedar forest, hand in hand with his cherished friend Enkidu, a role taken here by a woman, as they gaze in awe upon one of the 'great cedars', in reality a wispy, uprooted birch sapling crudely propped up in the cellar. All of these scenarios are ludicrously – and deliberately – unconvincing.

Kiefer is not engaged in a form of primitivism here, exalting the vision of the child as 'purer' than that of adults. Rather, in simulating such childlike behaviour, he seems to be striving to shed light on archetypal human operations that are by no means restricted to the activities of children. What is exemplified, in exaggerated form, are paradigmatic processes by which we configure the world and give it meaning. The absurdities are calculated to focus attention on the arbitrary nature of the process itself. The scrapbooks typify the human penchant for classification and the authority that emanates from such taxonomies. Many of the titles, with their use of the definite article, reinforce this authoritative intention.[5] The narratives exemplify the human capacity for mythic signification, for arbitrarily endowing. things or actions with some higher meaning.[6] Kiefer achieves this by the simple act of the title inscribed on the book's cover, sometimes augmented by spurious identifications of places or persons on its individual pages. In this fashion, photographs of the rolling Hessian countryside in which Kiefer lives are made to signify the flat terrain of the Brandenburg March (Markischer Sand, four volumes, 1976). In a book of 1977, over 100 full-page photographs of coarse gravel paths and abandoned railway beds, all shown in a relentless central perspective, are endowed with weighty narrative import by five words inscribed on the cover: Siegfried's difficult way to Brunnhilde (1977). By these parodies of myth, these exaggerations of the ways in which myth functions, Kiefer is here engaged in what Hans Blumenberg characterises as 'work on myth... [which] makes the work of myth manifest’.[7]

By itself this does not adequately explain Kiefer's enduring attraction to the medium of the book – after all, he has also played such naming games in his paintings. It seems likely that he was attracted to the book above all by its particular structural character, through which it produces meaning or a semblance of meaning temporally, by the sequential ordering of images. In this, Kiefer works against the simultaneity of visual experience normally characteristic of traditional visual art forms and adopts a feature of spoken and written language. Like words or phrases, individual images are not self-sufficiently significant, but acquire meaning only through their place in a temporal sequence, through their syntactical relationship with other images.[8] In other words, through the structure of the book Kiefer appears intent on exploring and demonstrating the relationship between temporality and the production of meaning.[9]

Kiefer's investigation of this relationship is not confined to his books, to those works that articulate themselves in time; he also pursues it in his paintings and sculptures, often utilising material from the book version of a given theme. For example, the woodcut images of German historical personages used in his book, Die Hermannsschlacht ('The Battle of Arminius') also appear in his large mixed-media compositions on the same subject, Wege der Weltweisheit: Die Hermannsschlacht ('Ways of wordly wisdom: the Battle of Arminius'). The individual portraits that are presented sequentially in the former are presented simultaneously, in a single composite image, in the latter. Yet this distinction between a diachronic and a synchronic generation of meaning applies only to the mode of articulation itself, for there are synchronic and diachronic elements in both works, and both types of structure are integral to the experience of each. In the diachronic structure of the book, the synchronic is present in the controlling idea, which speciously unites these disparate figures as agents of a nationalist myth.[10] In the mixed-media version, this synchronic idea is also manifest in the very structure of the work, but as we perceive the disparate images from various historical epochs we experience that myth as something unfolding and acquiring new dimensions of meaning over time. For Kiefer the link between temporality and meaning is therefore not understood merely syntagmatically, but also genealogically. He sees myths growing like the rings of a tree – his superimposition of concentric rings over this image of a national myth is no mere compositional device. This diachronic component, a temporal layering of meaning, is a feature of all of Kiefer's major compositions, but it has its origin in his books.

Kiefer's interest in revealing the diachronic within the synchronic is also a factor in his simulation of the effects of age on his paintings and sculptures. Even works dated 1991 have the aura of ancient artefacts that have survived over millennia. Kiefer's jet aeroplanes, for example, with their literary titles (Jason, Melancholia, etc), their wings often bedecked with ancient-looking tomes, seem like relics of antiquity. When he first showed these planes at the Galerie Paul Maenz in Cologne in November 1989, Kiefer titled the exhibition 'The Angel of History', after Walter Benjamin's interpretation of the Klee water-colour, Angelus Novus. Kiefer's choice of title for his planes is significant, not only because he himself had earlier made the association between angels and aeroplanes,[11] but because Benjamin's text offers a brilliant metaphor of the difference between a diachronic and a synchronic vision of history: 'This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet’.[12] In other words, Benjamin's angel sees history synchronically, as does Kiefer. The strange, doleful cargo of these planes – ancient texts, dried poppies, hair, teeth, snake skins – consists of metonymic traces of the past that survive in the present, like the wreckage at the angel's feet.[13]

As motifs in Kiefer's art, books seems to function as signs of signification itself. The earliest instance of this usage appears to be his painting, The book (1979-85), in which an open lead folio tome is mounted onto the centre of a canvas depicting a barren coastal landscape. This book has no illustrations, no text; it signifies language itself. Hovering magisterially over the earth, it brilliantly conveys the paradox of language: the book asserts the word's – and our – dominion over nature, but it also interposes itself as a barrier between us and this primeval landscape. It both mediates and separates. Language, 'the name breaking into the chaos of the unnamed’,[14] the projection of meaning onto the world, yields only our meaning, not the world's. Kiefer has addressed the point explicitly: 'If one detaches oneself from the premise that the human being is the centre of the world, of the cosmos, then meaninglessness ensues.... Yet by countering that meaninglessness with something, by placing something alongside it, I naturally create meaning. But it is a meaningless meaning, an illusory meaning'.[15]

In view of such a statement, Kiefer's imposing sculpture Bruch der Gefasse ('Breaking of the Vessels'), in which he has employed the motif of the book in connexion with a religious subject, becomes all the more engaging. The title refers to a Kabbalistic doctrine concerning the creation, developed in the circle of the sixteenth-century Rabbi, Isaac Luria. At the creation, as the divine light flowing from Ein-Sof (the hidden, unknowable, infinite Godhead) flooded into the primeval space that had opened up, it gradually formed into a hierarchical structure of spheres of light, the ten Sefiroth, or emanations. Each Sefirah had a corresponding vessel, itself made of a lower, denser mixture of light, to receive and preserve this divine light, but only the vessels of the three highest were strong enough to contain it; six vessels shattered from its sudden, powerful impact and the tenth was fractured, whereupon most of the divine light withdrew back into Ein-Sof. The broken shards became the source of gross matter and out of them evil arose. In the words of Gershom Scholem, 'since that primordial act, all being has been a being in exile, in need of being led back and redeemed ... Everything is in some way broken, everything has a flaw, everything is unfinished’.[16]

In tackling this subject, Kiefer has not made it easy for himself. Not only is there no iconographic tradition for it (except the canonical diagram known as the 'sefirotic tree’),[17] this mythical event is an incorporeal drama of light and light only, occurring prior to the creation of matter or of any humanly perceivable form. In representing this spiritual cataclysm, Kiefer has employed the densest, heaviest matter: lead. Forty-one massive lead folios fill a towering steel book-case – the structure weighs seven-and-a-half tons. Hovering above it is a semicircular pane of glass, signifying Ein-Sof, as indicated by cursive inscriptions. Below, to represent the emanations of Ein-Sof, he has written the name of each of the ten Sefiroth on a crumpled strip of lead and arranged them, interlinked by copper wire, in an order consistent with the sefirotic tree. The highest, Keter (crown), is attached to the glass; six project laterally from the sides of the bookcase; the fifth, Tifereth (mercy, also known as splendour or beauty), and the ninth, Yesod (the foundation), are symmetrically mounted to the two lower shelves; the tenth, Malkhuth (God's royal rule, or kingdom), the medium through which all of the forces of the previous nine Sefiroth flow into creation, lies amid the shattered glass on the floor. For all the originality of its imagery, Breaking of the Vessels addresses us in a familiar tone. Its hieratic structure, its grandeur and solemnity speak the rhetoric of transcendence, associated with the great religious art of the past.

Kiefer's decision to link this theme with a library must certainly have been inspired by the centrality of linguistic symbolism to the doctrine of the Sefiroth.[18] The process of emanation was also characterised as 'the unfolding of the divine language'. Each Sefirah, or sphere of light, has its own linguistic expression; hence the Sefiroth are also called the 'divine names' which, like the letters from which they are composed, are of divine origin and possess generative power. These divine names reveal the attributes of God, through which His hidden shape might be known; and the elements of the divine language constitute the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in which theTorah is written, not, however, in ink on parchment – for it is a mystical document that existed before matter was created – but in white-hot fire.[19]

Kiefer has commented on this centrality of language to Jewish religious thought, remarking that there are no images in the bible or the Kabbalah, but only 'completely intellectual concepts'. In Judaism 'it was never images, but letters that were holy.... For the Jews the world and the entire cosmos are to be found in the letters of the alphabet'. [20 ] At the same time he does not share this logocentric viewpoint, since he regards language and concepts as expedient, arbitrary human constructions: 'Humans create concepts for themselves in order just to be, to hold everything somehow temporarily together. I, however, do not believe that in the beginning was the Word. The world goes on without concepts'. He regards language and concepts as external to things.[21]

The structure of Breaking of Vessels, in which the ten labels bearing the divine names enframe the bookshelves,suggests that these volumes are commentaries on those same divine names that constitute the Sefiroth. As Scholem writes, each of those names and letters 'represents a concentration of energy and expresses a wealth of meaning which cannot be translated, or not fully at least, into human language’.[22] The tomes signify the attempt at such translation: countless words formed from twenty-two letters in the quest to penetrate the divine mysteries contained within those selfsame letters – words about letters and names; metaphysics as metalanguage. But these lead tomes, heavy with their materiality and temporality, impenetrable by the divine light,[23] seem completely of the earth, as do the divine names crudely scrawled in charcoal – a highly fugitive medium[24] – on the lead strips. Here matter appears to deconstruct spirit: the material embodiment of the idea contests its theological substance. The divine names, the sculpture seems silently to assert, are but emanations of the human mind, and the Godhead remains hidden and unknowable.

But Kiefer, who has long been fascinated by the wealth of ideas associated with lead, is also conscious of its paradoxical nature, and hence of the positive potentialities associated with it. It is a source of silver, and, more important, in the alchemical process was the base matter (prima materia) to be transmuted into gold – a process interpreted as a mystical drama of the suffering, death, and resurrection of matter to immortality, 'equivalent... in Christian terminology, to its redemption’.[25] Lead, Kiefer observes, always pointed to 'another, more spiritual plane’.[26]

Breaking of the Vessels should probably be interpreted not as a denial of transcendence but as an acknowledgment of human powerlessness to grasp it. Kiefer could find support for this idea in the Kabbalah itself. Perhaps his conceit, the linking of the Sefiroth with the motif of a library, was inspired by the Kabbalistic distinction between the 'Written Torah' and the 'Oral Torah'.

According to the Provencal Kabbalist, Isaac the Blind, the mystical Written Torah, inscribed in white fire, is 'unformed in a physical image except through the power of the Oral Torah', as the ever unfolding human interpretations of it are called.[27] Hence, as Scholem comments on this text: 'Everything that we perceive in the fixed forms of the Torah, written in ink on parchment, consists, in the last analysis, of interpretations or definitions of what is hidden. There is only an Oral Torah’.[28]

In some respects this Kabbalistic doctrine parallels Kiefer's views on the relationship of his own art, and of all representations, to the mystery of being. All of his works, all of his subjects, he has said,

are but aspects or traces of a theme that in human concepts, in language, is not representable. All of painting, but also literature and everything that is connected to it, is always but a circling around something unsayable, around a black hole or a crater, whose centre one cannot penetrate. And whatever one takes up for themes has only the character of pebbles at the foot of the crater – they are path markers in a circle that one hopes gradually closes in around the centre.[29]


1   Anselm Kiefer: Bucher 1969-1990 ed. G.ADRIANI, Stuttgart [1990]. The catalogue includes essays by Adriani, Peter Schjeldahl, Toni Stooss, and Zdenek Felix.

2   Anselm Kiefer, ed. A. SCHNEIDER, Berlin [1991]. In addition to Schneider, there are essays by Dieter Honisch, Doreet LeVitte-Harten, Wulf Herzogenrath, Anda Rottenberg, and Peter-Klaus Schuster. In its emphasis on the work since 1986 (50 of the 58 objects in the catalogue fall into this category), the Berlin exhibition was conceived as an update of the exhibition held at the Stedelijk Museum in 1987. See W.A.L. BEEREN: Anselm Kiefer: Bilder 1980-1986,, Amsterdam[1987].

3   One of Kiefer's books has been published in facsimile: Anselm Kiefer: Uber Raume und Volker, with an interview with the artist and an afterword by Klaus Gallwitz, Frankfurt [1990].

4   Although the book was included in the Tubingen exhibition, it is not one of those reproduced in the catalogue. For selected illustrations and commentary, see J.H. NEFF: Anselm Kiefer: Bruch und Einung,, New York [1988], pp.47- 49, 59. The catalogue also includes multiple illustrations of seven other Kiefer books.

5   That this is Kiefer's intention seems corroborated by his incorporation of a Nazi picture album, Das deutsche Volksgesicht, into a book of 1974, in which he explores some of the mechanisms of nationalist myth creation. Merely the collection of photos under the rubric 'the face of the German people' serves a volkisch myth, but on the following pages Kiefer carries these images onto a new mythic level: he incises the features of these faces into planks of wood, which are then inked and printed on subsequent pages, so that these ostensibly archetypal German faces seem to be emanations of the mythic German forest. Here what appears to be a seemingly innocent transference of the faces into a different medium is exposed as an insidious rhetorical strategy. For illustrations see the catalogue cited at note 1 above, pp.132-41.

6   In using the word 'myth' I am following Roland Barthes's definition of myth as a 'mode of signification'. According to Barthes, 'everything can be a myth provided it is conveyed by discourse'. Any object that is appropriated by society and 'arbitrarily endowed with meaning' for some 'social usage' becomes a myth. It is this process that is reproduced by Kiefer, also in his 'scrapbooks'. See R.BARTHES: Mythologies, trans. A. LAVERS, New York [1979], pp.109-10.

7   H. BLUMENBERG: Work on Myth, trans. R.M. WALLACE, Cambridge, Mass. [1985], pp.118, 133.

8   Obviously this is also true to a point of any narrative painting cycle, such as that of Giotto in the Arena Chapel or of Tintoretto in the Scuola di San Rocco. In such cases, however, the artist based the images on a pre-existing text and assumed the beholder's knowledge of the narrative. Moreover, since the paintings were intended to be seen in an architectural space, more than one image could be apprehended in a single glance, which is not possible with Kiefer's books.

9   Kiefer's interest in this issue brings to mind the work of Jacques Derrida particularly his notion of differance, a neologism fusing the conventional meaning of difference with the concept of deferment or postponement. By differance Derrida means 'that an element functions and signifies, takes on or conveys meaning, only by referring to another past or future element in an economy of traces'. The 'trace' is that which generates differance, and is for Derrida the 'absolute origin of sense in general... The trace is the differance which opens…signification'. J.DERRIDA: Positions, trans. A. BASS, Chicago [1991], p.29; idem: Of Grammatology, trans. G. CHAKRAVORTYSPIVAK, Baltimore [1976], p.65.

10   For a further discussion of this work, see C.W. HAXTHAUSEN: 'Kiefer in America: Reflections on a Retrospective', Kunstchronik, XLII [1989], pp.11-12.

11   For example, in Die Ordnung der Engel, no.10 in the Berlin catalogue (illus. p.46). In an inscription along the top of the painting, Kiefer reinforced this association by a deliberate pun on the name of the Byzantine author whose text inspired the painting: he wrote it as 'Dionysius Aeropagita', transposing the second and third letters in the name. This point was first made by M. ROSENTHAL: Anselm Kiefer,, Chicago and Philadelphia [1987], p.137.

12   W. BENJAMIN: 'Theses on the Philosophy of History', Illuminations, trans. H. ZOHN, New York [1969], p.257.

13   For a discussion of Kiefer's planes, see A. SCHNEIDER: 'Resurrexit oder eine tour d’horizon zu den neueren Werken', in the catalogue cited at note 2 above, pp.115-21. In Berlin, Kiefer's installation on the main floor of the Nationalgalerie, which juxtaposed these melancholy jet planes with the colossal bookshelf sculpture, Zweistromland (The High Priestess), crammed with 126 lead folio volumes, also synchronised the diachronic, with some unexpected assistance from current events. In the very weeks in which Kiefer was mounting his installation, fighter planes were raining down unparalleled destruction on the land for which the sculpture was named, Zweistromland, the land of two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, where writing was invented. The technology that generated such weapons would never have come to be without writing; in that sense these weapons can be said to have descended from those first crude cuneiform incisions made on clay tablets in this very land, some 5,000 years ago – an irony that seems to have passed unnoticed in the endless commentary on the Gulf War. Though this dimension was fortuitous (Kiefer had designed the installation months before), it is precisely this kind of genealogical relationship that his art seeks to make manifest. On Zweistromland, see the excellent monograph by A. ZWEITE: The High Priestess, London [1989].

14   BLUMENBERG, op.cit. at note 7 above, p.34.

15   A. HECHT and A. MEMECZEK: ‘Bei Anselm Kiefer im Atelier', art [January 1990], p.45.

16   G. SCHOLEMO: On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism, New York [1969], p.112. I have given a greatly simplified account of this myth. For a detailed discussion of 'the breaking of the vessels', see idem: Kabbalah, New York [1978], pp.135-40.

17   For an illustration, accompanied by a detailed discussion of the doctrine of the Sefiroth, see G. SCHOLEMO: On the Mystical Shape of theGodhead: Basic concepts in the Kabbalah, New York [1991], p. 44.

18   On this point, see D. LEVITTE-HARTEN: Bruch der Geffasse', in catalogue cited at note 2 above, p.25.

19   See SCHOLEM, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism pp. 36, 48-50 and idem, Kabbalah, pp.106-07.

20   Ein Gespräch - Una Discussione. Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis, Anselm Kiefer, Enzo Cucchi, ed. J. BURCKHARDT, Zurich [1988], pp.48-49.

21   Interview in Anselm Kiefer: Uber Raume und Volker, cited at note 3 above, p.158.

22   SCHOLEM, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism, p.36.

23   A remark by Kiefer suggests that lead's impenetrability by radiation is indeed a factor here. The lead from which these books are made once covered the roof of Cologne cathedral (a splendid diachronic twist!), on which Kiefer commented ‘Is that not absurd? To cover a Gothic cathedral with lead; to seal off those forms striving toward heaven with a hermetic lead cap, through which no rays from above can penetrate’. C. KAMMERLING and P. PURSCHE: ‘Nachts fahre ich mit dem Fahrrad von Bild zu Bild': Ein Werkstattgesprach mit Anselm Kiefer uber seine Arbeit und seine Weltsicht', Suddeutsche Zeitung, Magazin [16th November 1990], p.28.

24   Charcoal proved to be so fugitive that the inscriptions soon became faint. When Kiefer installed the work in July 1991 at the Saint Louis Art Museum, he reinforced the charcoal by painting over it with aquatec. I wish to thank Michael Shapiro, Chief Curator of the Saint Louis Art Museum, for this information (verbal communication, 9th September 1991).

25   See M. ELIADE: The Forge and the Crucible: The Origins and Structures of Alchemy, Chicago [1978], pp.149-51.

26   In KAMMERLING and PURSCHE, loc.cit. at note 23 above, p.28.

27   DAN, loc.cit. at note 19 above, p.76.

28   SCHOLEM, On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism, loc.cit. at note 16 above, pp. 49-50.

29   In HECHT and MEMECZEK, loc.cit. at note 15 above, pp.40-41.