Anselm Kiefer - Sternenfall
‘Sternenfall’ uses various elements and iconology to represent of the traumatizing history of Germany during World War II. Kiefer suffers from the burden of Germany’s past, which he claims is “connected to his actions.” His actions, including the creation of his pieces, produce an illusion that allow people to accept Germany for its past.
This sculpture resembles a four tiered iron bookcase crammed full of large books. The books are separated by panes of glass which appear to be tumbling from the shelves. Some of the glass has actually fallen and shattered on the floor. According to the Kabbalah, a collection of mystical writings from the Jewish religion, when the world was created, the attributes of God—his mercy, wisdom, and power—were divided among ten vessels that were not strong enough to hold them, and they shattered into pieces. The broken glass may also allude to Kristallnacht, a night in November 1938 when the windows of synagogues and Jewish-owned storefronts in Germany were smashed by mobs of Nazi sympathizers. The lead books are an allusion to the victims of the Holocaust that were burned in crematories.