The monumental Sun-Ship (Das Sonnenschiff, 1984–95) depicts an expansive tilled field, over which is set a large airplane made of lead, shaped like a paper plane. The motif of the tilled field recurs throughout Kiefer's work, where it alludes to the German countryside, transformed by centuries of cultivation and farming. Here, as elsewhere, Kiefer invokes the role of landscape in the history of German painting, particularly the appropriation—and subsequent discrediting—of the romantic tradition by the Nazis. The highly scarred and ash-covered surface of Sun-Ship—equally typical of Kiefer's paintings—also refers to the devastation incurred by aerial bombing during World War II. The sunflowers borne by the plane, however, might suggest the potential for regeneration.


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