The work is described, by the RA, as follows:
Anselm Kiefer often dedicates his works to intriguing figures of the past, be they poets or philosophers. This piece is one of a number of works emerging from Kiefer’s ongoing exploration of the Russian Futurist avant-garde writer, theorist and absurdist Velimir Khlebnikov (1885-1922).
After years of study, Khlebnikov concluded that a major sea battle took place every 317 years, or multiples thereof. Kiefer celebrates this heroic and ludicrous activity with a work that is both monument and anti-monument. Measuring almost 17 metres in total and consisting of two large glass vitrines, Kiefer creates a transparent, reflective sea-scape in three dimensions that calls to mind the Romantic sublime of painters from JMW Turner to Caspar David Friedrich. Kiefer uses the frames of the vitrines to stage a mysterious drama, in which viewers, seeing each other and their own reflections, become participants.