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  • Provenance

    James Cohan Gallery, New York; Private Collection, Switzerland

  • Catalogue Essay

    Concerned with the notions of being, Anslem Kiefer approaches art as a way of understanding human history. The German artist aims to draw connections between poetry, religion, history and science, with the intention of using the past in order to better explore our current existence. In doing so, he makes the viewer aware that our own times are just as unfathomable as those of our forebears. In Untitled (Constellation Book), from 2004, Kiefer draws upon the theories of the 17th-century mathematician and cosmologist Robert Fludd, NASA’s documentation of stars, and the work of the 20th-century German poet Paul Celan. Kiefer documents our perception of the galaxy and our attempts at mapping what is beyond reach. The numbering system used to document stars invites comparison with the numbering of prisoners in the Holocaust; and by doing so, Kiefer replaces Fludd’s theory that every star is connected to a plant with Celan’s quest for post-war reconciliation and an understanding of atrocity. The comparison of stars with victims parallels the attempt to comprehend an act which, to many, is still incomprehensible.


Untitled (Constellation Book)

Mixed media on lead.
Dimensions variable; as illustrated: 100 × 136 × 136 cm (39 1/2 × 53 1/2 × 53 1/2 in).

£180,000 - 250,000 ‡ ♠

Sold for £193,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

29 June 2010