Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kiefer and Celan

  Dein aschenes Haar Sulamith

by artist Anselm Kiefer

This painting's title, translated as "your ashen hair Shulamith," not only refers to a line from Paul Celan's poem "Todesfuge," but also graphically incorporates that line onto the canvas. 

Or as Andréa Lauterwein says in her review of the book Anselm Kiefer / Paul Celan: Myth, Mourning and Memory:
Yet those words are not simply self-contained on the canvas, they are not just repeated in another context, nor are they merely mentioned, for they now participate in the life of the canvas: the dark letters are one with the lines of black paint, white paint and charcoal that thickly cross the canvas. Kiefer is showing how the reality of the Shoah manifests itself to him, and is using Celan's disclosure of the Shoah in "Todesfuge" as an exemplary manifestation of the same grim reality, one that has allowed him to make the Shoah manifest in his own way.

Here's another book:

Sites of the Uncanny: Paul Celan, 
Specularity and the Visual Arts

Here's part of that book's text online:

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