The starting point for Kiefer's work is an enduring fascination with myth, history, theology, philosophy and literature. For many years his painting was a means to come to terms with his native Germany’s past. More recently the subject of the artist's work has become ever concerned with religious traditions and the symbolism of different cultures. Kiefer's weighty subject matters are reflected in the monumental size of many of his works – their scale is such that many fill the viewer's field of vision.
Kiefer's keen exploration of unorthodox materials – lead, ash, rope and human hair – bring an emotional potency and move his painting into the realm of sculpture. Among the works to be included in the exhibition are three paintings from the artist's early Parsifal series (1973), drawn from Richard Wagner’s last opera of the same name. In Palette 1981, Kiefer revealed the problematic legacy inherited by artists in post-war Germany: the artist's palette hangs from a single burning thread evoking shame, loss and the apparent impossibility of artistic creation. .
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