Dialectics of Redemption - Anselm Kiefer´s The Angel of Histry: Poppy and Memory


In this research I examine the manner in which the German artist Anselm Kiefer perceives modernity and progress, and issues such as history and memory. I use his 1989 piece The Angel of History: Poppy and Remembrance as a case study. As its title alludes, Kiefer’s work responds to Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History, and especially to paragraph IX. According to Benjamin, historical redemption is the process of redeeming the suppressed from amnesia, and their return to the foreground of historical writing and memory. These are the issues that Kiefer deals with in his art. His angel is no longer a spiritual being, but rather a morbid lead airplane unable to fly. His inability to fly is the product of modernity – of industrialism, war and Shoah.