Exhibition visit: Museum Ludwig, Köln

I visited two exhibitions in the Museum Ludwig in Köln this week:

1.  Bethan Huws “Drawings” – a display of drawings recently acquired by the museum for their collection.  I liked the three drawings that used concentric circles in a partially erased, geometric design.  The design of the three drawings were different in terms of number, size and distribution / arrangement of the circles.  What they had in common was that each circle set had been half erased and that the erasure occurred at the same angle for every circle in any one drawing achieving a three-dimensional modelled effect, which is mesmerising.  It reminded me of Kandinsky but when I went back to some of Kandinsky’s work, I found that he did not often use concentric circles and, when he did so, their design was very different from Huws’ work.  Also, Kandinsky correlated  shapes and colour, e.g. yellow triangles, whereas Huws’ geometric drawings are monochrome.

2.  Vija Celmins – “Desert, Sea and Stars”.  This exhibition opened this week and the artist was unknown to me.  Born in Latvia and brought up in the US, Celmins’  themes are deserts, the night sky, the sea and spiders webs.  Her work is extremely beautiful.  Delicate graphite drawings on acrylic ground depicting natural phenomena in intricate detail.  In a video documentary in the exhibition, Celmins explained how she painstakingly created the spiders webs drawing with a putty eraser into graphite ground. Reproductions do not do her work justice but, to get an idea, an image of her work is here .  There is a video link in which the artist talks about her work and its processes here.

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