Wege: Märkischer Sand is a notable artwork by Anselm Kiefer, a German artist associated with the neo-expressionist movement. The piece combines installation, sculpture, and painting techniques to create an impactful work revolving around themes of mythology, history, literature, and science. Incorporating materials such as straw, ash, clay, lead, and shellac adds an interesting layer to the symbolism present in the work.
“Märkischer Sand” incorporates straw as a representation of blonde hair. While most interpretations point towards Margarethe’s hair from Paul Celan’s “Death Fugue,” Kiefer himself has suggested multiple inspirations for this choice of material. As with many of his works exploring heavy themes like genocide and trauma caused by war and violence, there are several layers to each symbol or element present in the piece.
Kiefer continues to be recognised globally for creating impactful artworks that tackle important issues while incorporating rich symbolism through minimalism and abstract expressionism. In particular “Märkischer Sand” is widely acknowledged as one of his most impressive pieces for its depth and unique use of mixed mediums.