An image of Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe

Anselm Kiefer

(Germany, France 08 Mar 1945 – )

Glaube, Hoffnung, Liebe

Other titles:
Order of the Seraphim, Faith, hope, charity/love
Location
Not on display
Further information

There are two powerful strands to Kiefer’s work since the early 1980s; a philosophical investigation into the problems of representing transcendence and experimentation with materials and images to create hybrid forms between paintings and sculpture that confound traditional representations of space.

Kiefer describes both these enquiries as journeys into the unknown. The idea of the journey is a metaphor that he often includes in images and in material processes. In ‘Glaube Hoffnung Liebe’ the journey is potentially a flight that would take us from the material plane into the heavens and yet the propeller is made of lead and will never fly. The words in the title are inscribed on the three blades, they are St Paul’s three cardinal virtues; faith, hope and love. Perhaps Kiefer is implying that neither technology nor the exercise of virtue can achieve literal transcendence and yet he is constantly asking the question, why not?

Applying an object such as this lead propeller to a representation of a landscape contradicts the logic of spatial representation. Where in the space of the painting do we locate the object? Is it lying on the rock shelf or hurtling through space? In fact it is not in the space of the painting at all but hovers as if in a separate dimension or representational register. Yet the two kinds of space are magically integrated so that we don’t see one or the other but both at once something akin to the strange behaviour of quantum physics.

Year
1984-1986
Media
Mixed media painting
Medium
emulsion, synthetic polymer paint, shellac on photodocument paper on canvas (linen) with lead
Dimensions
280.0 x 380.0 x 75.0 cm overall :
a - canvas; 280 x 380 x 20 cm; stretcher
b - propeller; 127 x 25.5 cm; blade - glaube
b - propeller; 120 x 26 cm; blade - liebe
b - propeller; 130 x 24.5 cm; blade - hoffnung
b - propeller; 23 x 30 x 60 cm; nose (irreg)
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Mervyn Horton Bequest Fund 1987
Accession number
358.1987.a-b
Copyright
© Anselm Kiefer