Jackie Wullschlager, "Interview with Anselm Kiefer, ahead of his Royal Academy show," The Financial Times, 19 September 2014
The Palm (from 2006) is a part of Kiefer’s monumental series, Palmsonntag, which culminated in a large scale exhibition in 2008. Palmsonntag, or Palm Sunday, refers to the Sunday before Easter and commemorates Jesus’ triumphant return to Jerusalem before his resurrection. As Jesus walked through the gates of Jerusalem, it is said that his disciples laid down palm fronds to pave the way for his glorious return. Although the palm today may be commonly associated with a beachy paradise, historically, it has symbolized triumph and victory because of its immortality; as one palm branch dies, the next grows from it. This symbolism mirrors that of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Kiefer uses the palm frond as the central element of his work to recall this religiously historical event. The angelic wings of white dust shrouding the palm branch appear as if they are trying to break through the confinements of the canvas, serving as a constant reminder that even in the face of death, there is still hope of life.
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