German Sculptor Wins German Book Trade Peace Prize | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 19.10.2008
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German Sculptor Wins German Book Trade Peace Prize

Anselm Kiefer, a German sculptor, was awarded the German Book Trade Peace Prize in Frankfurt's St Paul's Church Sunday, Oct. 19.

German artist Anselm Kiefer

German artist Anselm Kiefer

Art historian and publicist Werner Spies gave a speech honoring Kiefer at the ceremony.

The Boersenverein, the German book publishers' and book-sellers' association, said Kiefer was an internationally renowned artist "who confronts his time with the disturbing moral message of the ruinous and the ephemeral."

In his work, the 63-year-old artist also grappled with literature and poetry, a statement from the prize jury said.

The book and its form were the primary conveyor of expression for Kiefer, the jury said.

The award comes with a cash prize of 25,000 euros ($34,000) and is usually given to book authors who promote international understanding.

Kiefer, 63, who lives has lived in France since 1993, is the first artist to be given the annual prize.

On Friday, Kiefer called peace "an unachievable utopia."

"There is no such thing as final peace," Kiefer told reporters. "Peace is a utopia, something that can never be achieved. It has to be created every day anew in our heads. It is a struggle."

Kiefer's anti-war art includes warplanes made of battered lead which are now exhibited in the Louisiana museum, one of Europe's top contemporary art galleries, north of the Danish capital Copenhagen.

Kiefer said Friday he wrote a diary daily and had nearly become a writer instead of an artist.

The award ceremonies came as meanwhile the international Frankfurt Book Fair was in its final day on Sunday after a five-day run. This year's fair featured 7,373 exhibitors, with Turkey as this year's special guest of honor.

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