mixed media, clay, shellac and emulsion on linen
190 x 280 cm (74 7/8 x 110 1/4 in.)
Like a large historical tableau, Anselm Kiefer presents a philosophical dispute in the form of a panoramic diagram in his 2003 work with the illustrated title “"The Nominalism versus Realism Debate". In his large-format work, Kiefer stages the intellectual discussion of the Middle Ages as a real armed conflict with modern military equipment that takes place on the desert battlefield of a relief-like, impasto colour landscape and in which the tanks of the "realists" and the "nominalists" face each other. But in Kiefer's work the question of the nature of art and its purpose is always present. The possibility or the task for art to find an associative approach to unsolvable or paradoxical problems, just as myths also try to do when they want to capture in metaphorical stories basic human experiences that are otherwise difficult to describe in rational words: that is Kiefer's theme, as he put it himself: "Art, mythology is another form of knowledge."