Anselm Kiefer German
Not on view
In one of the Old Norse poems in the Edda, the "Ballad of Gimnir" (Gimnir is also known as Odin, chief of the gods), the universe is described as an immense ash tree, Yggdrasil. Kiefer presented himself as this tree, reusing a self-portrait from 1969 in which he wears a crocheted dress and holds a branch (die Kiefer in German refers to a type of pine tree). On top of the image he added in acrylic and gouache the tree stump and various animals associated with Yggdrasil. Encompassing themes of transformation, growth and decay, and even human evolution—all present in Kiefer’s work—Yggdrasil is an apt subject for the artist’s self-identification.