Vija Celmins: Desert, Sea, and Stars

Museum Ludwig
April 15–July 17, 2011

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Gl. Strandvej 13
September 8, 2011–January 3, 2012

Curated by Julia Friedrich

Featuring some seventy paintings, drawings, and prints from the past forty years, this exhibition takes place not far from where the Riga-born artist remembers her creative life beginning, her family having fled to West Germany (before emigrating to the US) in advance of the Soviet occupation of Latvia when she was still a child. Desert, sea, and stars have long been Celmins’s mainstays; the show will accordingly be organized around these subjects. Such boundless categories hazard unrepresentability, but through graphic exactitude and meticulous trompe l’oeil, desert floors are rendered particular, ocean waves proximate, attesting to this septuagenarian’s great achievement—to have turned the infinite into something intimate, the nonspecific into a territory indisputably her own.