The book is a compilation of 26 paintings that are executed as double page spreads. Oil, Acrylic are applied to Kiefer’s photographic enlargements of, in many instances, war game models that he frequently assembled and documented in his studio. Utilizing paints, mixed materials, and the artist’s unique photographs, the 26 paintings (each 23 x 34 in) are then mounted to rigid board before binding into the book form. Kiefer’s multifaceted books have come to represent the artist’s private side as best documented by The Books of Anselm Kiefer 1969-1990 edited by Gotz Adriani. Editions Cantz c. 1990.
Ragnarok depicts a narrative of Norse Mythology wherein the title refers to the final apocalyptic battle between the giants and the gods in which virtually all life is destroyed. The book is a metaphor for the multifaceted opera, “The Ring des Nibelungen” by the German composer, Richard Wagner. Kiefer’s translation in his imagery is narrative but is far removed from the literal interpretation. He takes the opportunity to translate the myth to an updated version of the Nazi depiction of the Aryian man and woman. He symbolically undermines the concept of the adoption of the Norse theme by the Nazis, reflecting his profound emotional response to the evils of the National Socialists under Hitler.