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Back To OverviewPrice Winner 2008

Anselm Kiefer

The Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association has chosen German artist Anselm Kiefer to be the recipient of this year’s Peace Prize. The award ceremony will take place during the Frankfurt Book Fair on Sunday, October 19, 2008 in the Church of St. Paul in Frankfurt, Germany. The laudatory speech was given by Werner Spies.

Anselm Kiefer
© Renate Graf

Reason of the Jury

“The German Publishers’ and Booksellers’ Association has chosen to award the 2008 Peace Prize of the German Book Trade to Anselm Kiefer. In so doing, the association and its members have chosen to honor an artist of global importance who has consistently sought to confront us with a disturbing moral message of that which is ruinous and volatile.

Kiefer appeared at an ideal moment in history to transcend the post-war dictate of non-committal and non-concrete representation. In many ways, Kiefer acted like an ingenious and conscious conqueror, seizing upon the means of an expressive, texture-rich form of painting and transferring these means – much like the spoils of war – to his own world of images.  At the very center of his work stands an artistic present that is eroded and shattered, one that is presented with speechlessness and an extremely short-tongued rhetoric.

The incredibly strong resonance that Kiefer’s work has received results from his ability to create a visual vocabulary for both timeless and acute themes and thereby simultaneously transform the viewer into a reader. The extent to which Kiefer deals with literature and poetry is demonstrated not only by his installations, which constantly allude to great works. Kiefer also made the book itself – the book as a form – into a decisive vehicle of expression. His monumental lead works appear as shields against a defeatism that dares to deny a future to books and reading.”


Biography Anselm Kiefer

Born on March 8, 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany, Anselm Kiefer is one of the country’s most important artists. From the very beginning of his career as an artist, he has exerted a tremendous influence on contemporary art and artists all over the world.


Laudatory speaker Werner Spies