Concentric Bearings D (1985)
About this artwork
The 'Concentric Bearings' prints form an important series which Celmins produced with the Gemini G. E. L. print workshop in Los Angeles. The series explores different images of 'turning space'. 'Concentric Bearings D' contains an image of a falling plane, Celmins's own image of stars turning in the night sky and a rotary device taken from Marcel Duchamp’s 'Rotary Glass Plates (Precision Optics) 1920'. Duchamp’s machine produced optical illusions. Celmins drew Duchamp’s rotary device from a photograph and then transferred it to the plate using photogravure. The image of the plane was particularly poignant for Celmins who spent her childhood in Latvia and Germany in the late 1930s and 1940s.
- title: Concentric Bearings D
- accession number: AR00470
- artist: Vija CelminsAmerican (born 1938)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- materials: Mezzotint, aquatint and drypoint on paper
- date created: 1985
- measurements: left image: 11.90 x 9.40 cm; centre image: 20.80 x 13.80 cm; right image: 24.10 x 17.90 cm (paper 45.70 x 56.70 cm) (framed: 49.80 x 61.10 x 3.80 cm)
- credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
- copyright: © Vija Celmins.
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
Born in Latvia in 1938, Cemins and her family emigrated to the United States in 1948. Although beginning her career as an Abstract Expressionist painter, she is now best known for her intricate, monochromatic drawings of a select range of subjects. In 1966 she began to use photographs as the subject for her works, creating what she described as “impossible images” which remind us of the complexity of the simplest things. These meticulous renderings of the surface of the ocean, expanses of desert, the night sky, or a spider’s web, demonstrate her fascination with the surrounding world. With a slow, painstaking approach, some of these works take up to a year to complete.