Anselm Kiefer

Heroische Sinnbilder [Heroic Symbols]

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About this artwork

Although Anselm Kiefer is best known for his monumental history paintings, his early work of the late 1960s was influenced by contemporary developments in performance and conceptual art in West Germany. This led him to study at the Düsseldorf Academy in 1970 with Joseph Beuys, who had become one of Germany’s most significant performance artists. The previous year Kiefer had photographed himself giving the Hitler salute in various culturally charged locations, such as historical monuments and landscapes that evoke the German Romantic tradition, as well as in his Karlsruhe studio, as in this picture. The photographs were published in a book that he ironically titled 'Heroische Sinnbilder (Heroic Symbols)'. The poses that Kiefer assumed in his performances – wearing drag, creased suits or mock military outfits – parody above all the connection to a lineage of German heroism that the Nazis claimed for themselves.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
    Anselm KieferGerman (born 1945)
  • title:
    Heroische Sinnbilder [Heroic Symbols]
  • date created:
    1969
  • materials:
    Photograph, black and white, on paper
  • measurements:
    76.00 x 54.00 cm
  • object type:
  • 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 2011.
  • accession number:
    AR01162
  • gallery:
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms
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Anselm Kiefer

Anselm Kiefer