Shevirat Hakelim, 2009
Kiefer also seeks inspiration for his creations in Kabbalah texts, that he came across as a result of in-depth study and knowledge on Judaism. In this case, the work alludes to Shevirat Hakelim or “breaking of the vessels”, one of the phases of creating the universe according to the Kabbalah. It states that before the Creation, all space was divinity and as the universe began to expand, divinity shrank. The Shevirat Hakelim is the explosion of Divine Light, brought about by this shrinking.
As it exploded, it broke the ten Sefirot or vessels that contained the principles or the divine light. Ever since, the world has been made up of these broken values, these scattered fragments. The work alludes directly to these fragments, with parts that seem to come away from the canvas and flood the space. In turn, Kiefer approaches a reference to the geographic origins of the biblical texts and western culture, through the zigurrat or pyramidal stepped temple tower.