Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Anselm Kiefer (German, b. 1945)

Banner, 1990

Oil, lead, ash, rock, paper, and copper wire on canvas

130 x 110 1/4 in. (330.2 x 280 cm)


Gift of Camille Oliver-Hoffmann in memory of Paul W. Oliver-Hoffmann
1998.25

Banner is a typical example of Kiefer’s large-scale and often ambiguous and multilayered paintings. Made as part of a series exhibited as the Lilit [Lilith] paintings, Banner draws on Kiefer’s interest in German mythology, history, and in particular the cabala, a system of Jewish mysticism. In cabalic texts, Lilith, often considered the first wife of Adam, refuses to take a subservient role. Historically, Lilith is often depicted with long, streaming hair and wings; in Banner Kiefer transmuted this traditional iconography into that of an airplane made of lead, trailing ribbons of lead and cloudy streams of white paint. The plane is flying toward the word Aziluth, which is a cabalic reference to a divine world of free will, contrasting war and other tragic realities of human life with the concept of an ideal existence.