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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.
Featured image is reproduced from Vija Celmins.
FROM THE BOOK
"A certain risk is entailed when one puts together an exhibition with just four motifs. Particularly when it soon becomes apparent that the works have all been done in black, white and gray, almost all on paper, and the majority indeed as prints, which is to say in editions. Editions are not really thought of as attractive items for an exhibition. Yet anyone who allows their gaze to rest just a moment longer on these works will be unable to draw it away. They will realize the spell that such an unprepossessing color as grey can cast and how a print can transform into a treasure. This impression becomes all the most compelling when each individual sheet is compared and their respective qualities are allowed to emerge."
Kasper König and Poul Erik Třjner, excerpted from the foreword to Vija Celmins.
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK
USD $40.00 | CAN $54
Pub Date: 10/15/2005
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