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as in the large painting Osiris and Isis (1985–87). His paintings of the 1990s, in particular, explore the universal myths of existence and meaning rather than those of national identity.From 1995 to 2001, he produced a cycle of large paintings of the cosmos.He also started to turn to sculpture, although lead still remains his preferred medium. Since 2002, Kiefer has worked with concrete, creating the towers destined for the Pirelli warehouses in Milan, the series of tributes to Velimir Khlebnikov (paintings of the sea, with boats and an array of leaden objects, 2004-5), a return to the work of Paul Celan with a series of paintings featuring rune motifs (2004–6), and other sculptures. In 2006, Kiefer’s exhibition, Velimir Chlebnikov, was first shown in a small studio near Barjac, then moved to White Cube in London, then finishing in the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. The work consists of 30 large (2 x 3 meters) paintings, hanging in two banks of 15 on facing walls of an expressly constructed corrugated steel building that mimics the studio in which they were created. The work refers to the eccentric theories of the Russian futurist philosopher/poet Velimir Chlebnikov, who invented a "language of the future" called "Zaum", and who postulated that cataclysmic sea battles shift the course of history once every 317 years. In his paintings, Kiefer’s toylike battleships—misshapen, battered, rusted and hanging by twisted wires—are cast about by paint and plaster waves. The work’s recurrent color notes are black, white, gray, and rust; and their surfaces are rough and slathered with paint, plaster, mud and clay. In 2009 Kiefer mounted two exhibitions at the White Cube gallery in London. A series of forest diptychs and triptychs enclosed in glass vitrines, many filled with dense Moroccan thorns, was titled Karfunkelfee, a term from German Romanticism stemming from a poem by the post-war Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann. In The Fertile Crescent, Kiefer presented a group of epic paintings inspired by a trip to India fifteen years earlier
where he first encountered rural brick factories. Over the past decade, the photographs that Kiefer took in India "reverberated" in his mind to suggest a vast array of cultural and historical references, reaching from the first human civilization of Mesopotamia to the ruins of Germany in the aftermath of the Second World War, where he played as a boy. "Anyone in search of a resonant meditation on the instability of built grandeur", wrote the historian Simon Schama in his catalogue essay, "would do well to look hard at Kiefer’s The Fertile Crescent". In Morgenthau Plan (2012), the gallery is filled with a sculpture of a golden wheat field, enclosed in a five-meter-high steel cage. Books Beginning in 1969 Kiefer also worked on book design. Early examples are typically worked-over photographs; his more recent books consist of sheets of lead layered with paint, minerals, or dried plant matter. For example, he assembled numerous lead books on steel shelves in libraries, as symbols of the stored, discarded knowledge of history. The book Rhine (1981) comprises a sequence of 25 woodcuts that suggest a journey along the Rhine River; the river is central to Germany's geographical and historical development, acquiring an almost mythic significance in works such as Wagner's Ring of the Nibelungs. Scenes of the unspoiled river are interrupted by dark, swirling pages that represent the sinking of the battleship Bismarck in 1941, during an Atlantic sortie codenamed Rhine Exercise.