The Land of the Two Rivers refers to the land delimited by the Euphrates and Tigris rivers-the site of ancient Babylonia, home to Gilgamesh (whose legend Kiefer explores in Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Cedar Forest II [Gilgamesch und Enkidu im Zedernwald II, 1981], also in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao collection), and a region central to both Judaism and Christianity. This was also where the Sumerians invented writing in the fourth millennium BCE. Kiefer's painting evokes the land, its civilizations, and the establishment of written culture. The inscribed title at the upper right of the canvas might be seen as an allusion to the written word itself, which leaves a lasting mark that transcends civilizations and eras. This monumental work was preceded by a sculpture of the same name, comprising several lead books that convey a sense of the enduring nature of the written word and history.


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