TRAIGO TODAS LAS INDIAS EN MI MANO
Anselm Kiefer
DONAUESCHINGEN 1945 -
TRAIGO TODAS LAS INDIAS EN MI MANO
1995-1996
GRAPHITPENCIL AND GOUACHE ON PHOTOGRAPHY
THE PAPER WAS FOLDED BY THE ARTIST
INSCRIBED BELOW: „TRAIGO TODAS LAS INDIAS EN MI MANO“
PERSONAL DEDICATION ON VERSO

49 X 72 CM
PROVENANCE

PRIVATE COLLECTION, SWITZERLAND

Anselm Kiefer is a German artist who deals strongly in his artwork with history, mythology and Germany’s identity after WW II. He was born in Donaueschingen, Baden-Württemberg, in 1945. He started to study law and romance – in addition he started also studying art at Peter Dreher’s class in Freiburg in 1966. He continued his studies at the art academy in Karlsruhe three years later. After his studies at the university in Freiburg and the academy in Karlsruhe, he studied informally in the early 1970s with the artist Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf. Influenced by him and also by Georg Baselitz Kiefer is considered part of the Neo-Expressionist movement. The artist is most known for his subject matter dealing with German history and myth. The artist is an avid reader and deeply interested in philosophy, literature, mythology, history, and knowledge. Similarly, he frequently incorporates text into his paintings, including excerpts from poems, novels etc. Layers of multiple histories and media are hallmarks of Kiefer’s work. He is drawn to various and often unusual media for their symbolic potency.


After Germany’s re-unification in 1991, Kiefer decided to leave the country. The following years represent a period of enormous change in his work and were also marked by a great deal of travel around the world to places such as Mexico, India, China, Japan and Australia. Kiefer shifts his focus from works contemplating Germany’s past to universal themes as religion, the cosmos and ancient myth in mediums as painting, installation art, photography etc. Kiefer’s dense, unique compositions reflect a powerful synthesis of ideas - spanning history, oriental spiritual traditions, yoga, alchemy, culture, nature, religion and universal belief - marking him a preeminent contemporary German artist.


After his long travels to the Middle East and Asia, Kiefer started a series in which he processed his experience starting in the 1990s. The physical and mental voyages of this period are manifest in Kiefer’s recent artworks. In those artworks the artist shows himself mostly as a lying or standing nude in harmony with the universe. Kiefer is working with various materials and formats in those self-portraits. Those are not self-portraits in a classical sense – Kiefer uses his body more as a prototype of a human being and so becomes a conveyer of a collective experience as he expresses his experiences.


In our black and white photography Kiefer presents himself as a lying nude in the water. He is swimming on his back, turned away from us, in the sea. His movements create shamrock-shaped waves around his body. Kiefer used graphitpencil and gouache on this photography and inscribed it below with its title Traigo todas las Indias en mi mano. The title of our artwork is a quotation from a sonnet by Francesco de Quevedo (1580 – 1645). The original poem is the sonnet Retrato de Lisi que traía en una sortija (A portrait of Lisi which he carries in a ring), in which Quevedo deals with the Micro- and Macrocosm and the transience of beauty. He writes of a man holding a ring that bears the portrait of his beloved. The image acts as a focus for meditation. With the poet’s contemplation of it comes a consciousness of the universe and his place within it. “I hold the starry plains of heaven,” he writes. “I hold all Indias in my hand.”


Kiefer created several artworks with this title but in various techniques (collage on canvas, photography, xylograph etc) and formats. They illustrate Kiefer’s unbridled experimentation with content as well as with technique. Not reproduction, but the remixing of materials, themes, ideas, and pictorial compositions stands in the foreground.


His art has been exhibited since the beginning. He has been represented in museums around the world, including the Louvre, Fondation Beyeler, White Cube gallery, Albertina, Centre Pompidou etc. and he has also directed the opera Am Anfang.


Anselm Kiefer is one of the most important contemporary German artists whose works are represented in numerous museums. He currently lives and works in France.