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Urd Werdande Skuld (The Norns)

© the artist. Photo credit: Tate

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Between 1980 and 1983, Kiefer made paintings that revisited images of Hitler’s monumental architecture. Using old photographs and architectural plans, Kiefer transformed symbols of Nazi authority into derelict building-sites. In this work, the vaulted structure contains the unseen presence of the Norns, the three figures of fate in Germanic mythology, named Past, Present and Future. Their names are scratched into the ceiling, while below a glowing fire points to salvation and regeneration. Drawing on the artist’s fascination with Norse folklore and Wagnerian motifs, the work reflects his attempts to reconcile his country’s recent history through the myths of Germanic legend.


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More information

Urd Werdande Skuld (The Norns)




Oil, shellac, emulsion and fibre on canvas


H 420.5 x W 280.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008

Work type



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