Anselm Kiefer's Melancholia,1990-91, is one of four large-scale lead sculpture airplanes that the artist created in the past decade. It joins other important works by Kiefer already in the Museum's collection, including four large paintings and three artist's books. In both its title and its form, Melancholiamakes reference to
Albrecht Dürer's Melencolia I from 1514, which represents the melancholic temperament through a depiction of an angel-winged woman sitting grounded with her head in her hands, a tetrahedron positioned on the left side of the work. Kiefer's lead-winged creation with a crystal tetrahedron on its left side recalls the ravages
of the air raids of World War II, which ended the year the artist was born. Kiefer's art explores recent German history without memorializing; rather, it speaks of a transcendence of such oppositions as spiritual and material, heaven and earth, emphasized through his use of symbolic images such as the grounded airplane. Kiefer chooses his material, in this case lead, not only for its physical properties, but for its signifying values as well. Kiefer's sculptures in lead comment on the dual nature of ideas, history and forms of expression, exposing what is "real" by encompassing oppositions. Melancholia,the first Kiefer sculpture to enter SFMOMA's collection, expands the Museum's holdings of key works by the artist, among which are the following paintings: Die Sechste Posaune(The Sixth Trump), 1996; Osiris und Isis(Osiris and Isis), 1985-87; and Seraphim,1984, and Unternehmen Seelöwex(Operation Sea Lion), 1975, both fractional gifts of Vicki and Kent Logan.
lead airplane with crystal tetrahy
126 in. x 174 in. x 65 3/4 in. (320 cm x 442 cm x 167 cm)
Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Donald and Doris Fisher
Fuente: Copyright © 2000 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art