ANSELM KIEFER: THE HEAVENLY PLACES: MERKABAH by Peter Nisbet
Harvard Art Museums, 2003 First edition, 56 pp., 10 3/4" X 14" Hardcover
While most major museums in the United States and abroad hold examples of the German artist Anselm Kiefer's work, the nature and extent of his achievement are the subject of intense debate. This volume reproduces in full The Heavenly Palaces, Merkabah, an important large-scale artist's book created by Kiefer in 1990. Featuring images reproduced here in full color, this work is accompanied by three essays by experts who approach the book from various perspectives, explicating its many layers of meaning to an unprecedented degree.
The first essay deals impressionistically with the motifs and iconography of The Heavenly Palaces Merkabah. The next treats its themes and meaning, concentrating especially on Jewish references and resonances, an especially challenging aspect of this German artist's oeuvre. In the final essay, the importance of the medium of photography is addressed by surveying its use by Kiefer since the beginning of his career.