Anselm Kiefer salutes Martin Heidegger


For a long time I wanted to publish a sequence of posts for one of my favourite modern artists, Anselm Kiefer. Kiefer was born in Germany after the second world war and studied with Joseph Beuys.

His work is a journey inside German history and culture, a painful and horrific journey at times, establishing dialogues with figures that inhabit the realm of Culture and Tradition, depicting objects and tracing trajectories in space.

Through his multi-layered compositions, Kiefer exposes the tragic elements of life and existence, in all shapes and proportions.

I considered it appropriate to start the journey of experiencing some of his works with two works on paper that he “dedicates” to the Holy Monster of Modern German Philosophy, Martin Heideger.

1975. Watercolor, acrylic, and ballpoint pen on paper
11 3/4 x 15 1/2 in. (29.8 x 39.4 cm)
Inscribed lower center in watercolor: ESSENZ
Inscribed on nine areas of white acrylic in ballpoint pen: Ek-sistenz [ex-sistence]
Inscribed lower left in watercolor: für Julia [for Julia]
Purchase, The Barnett Newman Foundation Gift, 1995
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“Essenz /Ek-sistenz”
1975. Watercolor and gouache on paper
Inscribed upper right in gouache: Ek-sistenz
Inscribed lower center in watercolor: Essenz
Inscribed lower left in watercolor: für Julia [for Julia]
11 3/4 x 15 5/8 in. (29.8 x 39.7 cm)
Purchase, The Barnett Newman Foundation Gift, 1995

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

In Essence, the German word “Ex-sistenz” appears on each of several mountains rendered in plan view in thick white acrylic, and the word “ESSENZ” is rendered in black, the letters moving across the surface and weaving in and out of the mountains. Here, as in the accompanying work, Essence/Ex-sistence, Kiefer has used both graphic means and language to symbolize the German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s ideas. Essence, it is suggested, occupies no particular material place, while existence has palpable physical presence.


  1. το destructive style του είναι αυτό που μου αρέσει… πολύ καλός

    πώς τους συνδεεις ολους μαζί, μου λες?
    διάβαζα ότι τα ποιήματα του Celan έπαιξαν σημαντικό ρόλο στην ανάπτυξη των θεμάτων του Kiefer

    γεια σας

    • Ναταλια!!!! Μπον Ζουρ μα σερι!!!!
      Ευχαριστω για τα ομορφα λογια, που εχουν ειδικον και ιδιαιτερον βαρος καθοσον ειναι ειπωμενα με αυθεντικο τροπο. (Η αυθεντικοτητα ειναι ο δρομος προς την Υπαρξη.)
      Το κουβαρι με τις σχεσεις των ανθρωπων δεν ξετυλιγεται ευκολα αλλα οταν εστω ενα μικρο κομματακι αποκαλυπτει τις δικτυωσεις που εμπεριεχει εγω τουλαχιστον αισθανομαι χαρα και μια διαθεση να πω κι εγω με τη σειρα μου ¨και ομως γυριζει!” αφου τετοιες μικρες ανακλαυψεις ειναι στο δικο μου βιβλιο το ιδιο σημαντικες οπως η του Γαλιλαιου.
      Θα επανελθω στο θεμα του Κηφερ, αυτο ηταν περισσοτερο ενα amuse buche.

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