Unbelievable beauty


Don’t think: look!
— Ludwig Wittgenstein

It’s a mystery to me, how some art, some artists, makes us see – sense – the unbelievable beauty of ordinary things.

Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean), 1977. Graphite on acrylic ground on paper, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Vija Celmins is such an artist, the mysterious one, capable of transforming reality into something even more real.

‘When you work on a piece for a good long while, it seems to overpower time. Paintings that I like (such as those of Piero della Francesca, for example) are somehow motionless, a compressed time period that opens your eyes. If you put a lot of time into a work of art, something happens to slow the picture down, to make it more bodily, to keep you at it.’

— Vija Celmins

This is a little film about how she developed into the artist she is today:

And here is a bit more on recent work, and on the relation between art and the world:

Vija Celmins: Born in Riga, Latvia, Celmis fled the country with her family near the end of  World War II before the Soviet occupation. They lived in refugee camps in Germany until immigrating to Indianapolis in 1948. Celmins studied at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis and attended a summer session at Yale University before entering the MFA program at the University of California in 1962. She relocated to New York in the early 1908s. 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. bluebrightly says:

    I was just reading an article about her in the current New Yorker the other day…I’ve been lucky to see and appreciate her work in person, in the past…and isn’t it funny, I mention reading the article in my next post, which will be published in a few days. Synchronicity. I’ll enjoy the videos now, thank you, my friend!

    1. Sigrun says:

      How wonderful – I guess this is the kind of art you should enjoy «live». Looking forward to your post 😘

      1. bluebrightly says:

        The videos are great, I really enjoyed Celmins’ straightforward, matter-of-fact presentation of herself and her work. No self-mythologizing, no drama, just great care about the world and her work. Refreshing!

    2. Sigrun says:

      YES! Great reflections on own work.

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