In search of cultural history: Anselm Kiefer and the ambivalence of modernism

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10149/96642
Title:
In search of cultural history: Anselm Kiefer and the ambivalence of modernism
Authors:
Rampley, M. (Matthew)
Citation:
Rampley, M. (2000) 'In search of cultural history: Anselm Kiefer and the ambivalence of modernism', Oxford Art Journal, 23 (1), pp.73-96.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Journal:
Oxford Art Journal
Issue Date:
2000
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10149/96642
DOI:
10.1093/oxartj/23.1.73
Abstract:
The work of Anselm Kiefer has often been regarded as problematic. Its fascination with Nazi history and German myth has been interpreted as reactionary political recidivism, and the coincidence of its rise to public prominence with a rightward shift in German politics only added to this suspicion. I argue that while Kiefer's work is problematic, it is because it raises uncomfortable questions about the relationship between German modernism and Nazism. Though Nazism is often seen as the antithesis of the former, I suggest that much of its ideological underpinning derived from the same sources as many modernist writers and artists. In particular, the discourse of romantic anti-capitalism, which inspired both right-wing modernists such as Stefan George or Ernest Jünger and the left-wing modernism of Expressionism, also informed the pastoral ideology of Nazism. A central part of Kiefer's work of the 1970s and early 1980s is an attempt to overcome the notion of representation as a mediated process, through his inclusion of 'literal' materials such as sand and straw. I argue that this aspect of Kiefer's work mirrors the discourse of authenticity prevalent in romantic anti-capitalism, most obviously, perhaps in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Hence Kiefer's work, juxtaposing motifs borrowed from the history of modernism with provocative historical references, indicates that the distance between modernism and Nazism is not as great as often assumed.
Type:
Article
Language:
en
Keywords:
Kiefer, Anselm; Nazi history; German myth; modernism
ISSN:
0142-6540
Rights:
Subject to restrictions, author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). for full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo [Accessed 16/04/2010]
Citation Count:
0 [Scopus, 16/04/2010]

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorRampley, M. (Matthew)en
dc.date.accessioned2010-04-16T13:30:40Z-
dc.date.available2010-04-16T13:30:40Z-
dc.date.issued2000-
dc.identifier.citationOxford Art Journal; 23 (1): 73-96en
dc.identifier.issn0142-6540-
dc.identifier.doi10.1093/oxartj/23.1.73-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10149/96642-
dc.description.abstractThe work of Anselm Kiefer has often been regarded as problematic. Its fascination with Nazi history and German myth has been interpreted as reactionary political recidivism, and the coincidence of its rise to public prominence with a rightward shift in German politics only added to this suspicion. I argue that while Kiefer's work is problematic, it is because it raises uncomfortable questions about the relationship between German modernism and Nazism. Though Nazism is often seen as the antithesis of the former, I suggest that much of its ideological underpinning derived from the same sources as many modernist writers and artists. In particular, the discourse of romantic anti-capitalism, which inspired both right-wing modernists such as Stefan George or Ernest Jünger and the left-wing modernism of Expressionism, also informed the pastoral ideology of Nazism. A central part of Kiefer's work of the 1970s and early 1980s is an attempt to overcome the notion of representation as a mediated process, through his inclusion of 'literal' materials such as sand and straw. I argue that this aspect of Kiefer's work mirrors the discourse of authenticity prevalent in romantic anti-capitalism, most obviously, perhaps in the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. Hence Kiefer's work, juxtaposing motifs borrowed from the history of modernism with provocative historical references, indicates that the distance between modernism and Nazism is not as great as often assumed.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherOxford University Pressen
dc.rightsSubject to restrictions, author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing). for full details see http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo [Accessed 16/04/2010]en
dc.subjectKiefer, Anselmen
dc.subjectNazi historyen
dc.subjectGerman mythen
dc.subjectmodernismen
dc.titleIn search of cultural history: Anselm Kiefer and the ambivalence of modernismen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.journalOxford Art Journalen
ref.citationcount0 [Scopus, 16/04/2010]en
or.citation.harvardRampley, M. (2000) 'In search of cultural history: Anselm Kiefer and the ambivalence of modernism', Oxford Art Journal, 23 (1), pp.73-96.-
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