A philosophical case study of Kiefer's work
Fire on the Earth
Anselm Kiefer and the Postmodern World
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John C. Gilmour
Born in 1945, the German painter Anselm Kiefer "represents the concerns and insecurities of postwar European intellectuals, confronted by a questionable past and a future so threatening that it tends to create despair." In this philosophical case study of Kieferís work, John C. Gilmour addresses a crisis that is common to twentieth-century art and aesthetic theory: the loss of confidence in the ideals and world view inherited from the Enlightenment. Modernismís historical moment has passed, he claims, and Kieferís artwhich was the subject of a recent national exhibitionreveals the contours of an emerging postmodern vision.
Considering the writings of Jameson, Foucault, Baudrillard, Lyotard, and Nietzsche, among others, Gilmour shows how Kieferís use of literary, mythological, and other cultural texts parallels the intertextual approach common among postmodern theorists. At the same time, the artistís cosmological questioning adds a dimension lacking among many of postmodernismís leading proponents. The author interprets Kieferís art as a site where distinctions between modern and postmodern senses of representation, history, cosmology, and nature become thematic. He addresses individual paintingsthe book includes forty-four illustrationsand gives the historical, biographical, art-critical, and philosophical setting for each piece.
Part I: Representation and Simulation in Postmodern Art
Part II: The Artist's Texts and Cultural Dissemination
Part III: Humanity in the Postmodern Moment
John C. Gilmour is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the B.A. in Fine Arts Program at Alfred University.
In the series
The Arts and Their Philosophies, edited by Joseph Margolis.
The volumes in The Arts and Their Philosophies, edited by Joseph Margolis, include: overviews of such well-defined sub-disciplines as the philosophy of music, film, and literature; studies of important figures, schools, and movements; monographs on such topics as postmodernism, texts and interpretation, reference in fiction, and the methodology of art history; explorations of the intersection of the arts and other disciplines, such as feminism and interpretation, art and politics; and translations of major works.