Kiefer shot to fame as a subversive young art student with a photo series called “Occupations” – pictures of himself giving the Nazi salute. It was controversial, and illegal. But the point, he says, was to confront Germany’s silence on its Nazi past. “We never spoke at home about that, you know?” he said. “In school, we had, I think, 10 days about the Nazis and, like, 10 days about Alexander the Great. And I felt really that there is something underneath, you know? Something heavy and horrible underneath.”
Anselm Kiefer’s “Occupations,” 1969, in Interfunktionen no. 12, 1975, Cologne. Black-and-white photograph, page 144. Private collection.
Credit: Copyright Anselm Kiefer. Photo: © Atelier Anselm Kiefer. Courtesy Gagosian