Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
"Only through the absolute reduction of the image can her desire never to show the same become clear. Only in apparent simplicity can the actual complexity of the images be rendered comprehensible. Amidst the deluge of images, the speed and simplicity that nowadays assail us, this is one way to force the viewer to look slowly and deeply at the work of art. And it is one possibility for sharpening our eye to what a picture is." Julia Friedrich, excerpted from Always the Same Song? in Vija Celmins.
Published by Walther König, Köln. Edited by Julia Friedrich, Kasper König. Texts by Hubertus Butin, Julia Friedrich.
The many admirers and devotees of Vija Celmins (born 1938) at last possess a serious overview of the Latvian-born, New York-based artist's work in this volume. For more than a half-century, Celmins has quietly mined a narrow but infinitely rich range of theme and palette, extrapolating whole worlds of photorealist detail from four seemingly simple motifs: the surface of the sea, the night sky, the desert and the spider web. In oil paintings, prints and charcoal or graphite pencil drawings that revisit these motifs over and over, as if researching them to comprehend their infinities of detail, Celmins confines herself to the colors black, white and gray, preserving a spacious sobriety and calm exactitude for her potentially romantic subjects. This essential volume reproduces more than 60 variations of Celmins' precisely depicted seas, skies, deserts and webs, which in the artist's seemingly dispassionate renderings restore vastness and wonder to our sense of the cosmos.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Artwork by Vija Celmins. Text by Eliot Weinberger.
New York artist Vija Celmins has made many images of the night sky--paintings, drawings and prints of gorgeous richness. In The Stars, she and her collaborator, the essayist and translator Eliot Weinberger, devote an artist's book to the theme. Celmins created three celestial prints for the project, which she also designed. One print, inspired by the worn binding of an early twentieth-century Japanese book, becomes the volume's mottled deep-blue cover; the second and third prints are images of the night sky, one of them negative--dark stars on a pale ground. For the text, Weinberger assembled a catalogue of descriptions of the stars drawn from around the world, and from an array of historical, literary and anthropological sources. This mythopoetic charting of the night sky evokes the vastness of the human imagination's response to a space itself vast and unknowable. Appearing in English and also in Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese and Maori, the text supplements Celmins's images visually as well as verbally. The Stars was originally a limited-edition livre d'artiste published this year by the Library Council of The Museum of Modern Art.