Museum Ludwig Presents Vija Celmins Desert Sea and Stars

. April 20, 2011 . 0 Comments

The Museum Ludwig presents Exhibition by Vija Celmins: Desert, Sea, and Stars, on view 15.4 – 17.7.2011.

This exhibition traces a great voyage of discovery of a very special artist: heaving oceans, arid deserts, spread-ing night skies and intricate spiders’ webs are Vija Celmins’ major themes. Since the late 1960s, this American artist with Latvian roots has used photographs of the four motifs as subjects of her oil paintings, pencil or charcoal drawings, and many different print techniques. Museum Ludwig is exhibiting 60 representative works that show the constantly subtle variations she makes on one’s perception of the same subject.

Common to all her works is the depiction of nature which, except for the webs, are all-over unbounded struc-tures. Her sources are black-and–white photographs which the artist instills with new life as she re-imagines them into a new medium. No other artist could be said to work through her images as Celmin does. She con-centrates deeply not only on the subject she depicts but also on the picture itself. Black, white and grey de-velop differently in a lithograph than they do in a woodcut, and differently again in oil, charcoal or graphite. The very fact that she will use a harder pencil for one drawing than for another produces a minimal shift that can change everything.

Common to all her works is the depiction of nature which, except for the webs, are all-over unbounded struc-tures. Her sources are black-and–white photographs which the artist instills with new life as she re-imagines them into a new medium. No other artist could be said to work through her images as Celmin does. She con-centrates deeply not only on the subject she depicts but also on the picture itself. Black, white and grey de-velop differently in a lithograph than they do in a woodcut, and differently again in oil, charcoal or graphite. The very fact that she will use a harder pencil for one drawing than for another produces a minimal shift that can change everything.

Celmins has a way of animating a surface that gives back a physical embodiment to her depicted images, which is why no reproduction will ever completely capture their magic. Her art is a triumph over the reproductive medium of photography and an intense observation of things. Celmins wants to bring what she finds in flat images back “into the real world and real time” of the viewer – and creates pictures of timeless beauty.

Image: Vija Celmins Ocean Surface Woodcut 1992, 1992, Grafit on paper, 49,5 x 39,4 © Vija Celmins Courtesy The Grenfell Press

www.museum-ludwig.de

Category: Fine Art

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