Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Cedar Forest II

Anselm Kiefer1981

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao
Bilbao, Spain

Artist's books have been one of Kiefer's central means of expression since 1968. Unlike many artist's books, which are typically issued as multiples, Kiefer's books are singular, handmade pieces and, in this sense, more like paintings or sculptures. Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Cedar Forest II (Gilgamesh und Enkidu im Zederwald II, 1981) is one of eight books Kiefer completed between 1981 and 1983. Composed entirely of photographs, this book tells a story based on the The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest literary and poetic masterpieces. The original epic recounts the adventures of Gilgamesh, the Sumerian king who reigned around 2700 BCE, and his companion, the warrior Enkidu. Despite his work's underlying plot, Kiefer does not offer a linear recounting of the ancient story, but rather isolates specific passages and images, which he then reassembles and recomposes to reflect his personal memory of the Third Reich and German tradition.


  • Title: Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Cedar Forest II
  • Creator: Anselm Kiefer
  • Date Created: 1981
  • Location: Bilbao, Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: 57 x 43 x 12 cm, 46 pages
  • Type: Artist's book
  • External Link: Artwork on the website of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
  • Medium: Oil, acrylic, emulsion, and shellac on original photograph over cardboard
  • Artwork's location in the Museum: Not on view

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