Gober and Celmins, a Conversation

 

Robert Gober "Untitled" 1991. Wood, beeswax, leather, fabric, and human hair

 

In my Contemporary Art Forms class we are reading excerpts from a very fun tome of a book called, “pressPLAY Contemporary Artists in Conversation.”  (published by Phaidon:   http://www.phaidon.com/store/art/pressplay-9780714845333/ Some interviews in it are better than others; avoid Richard Deacon and Lorna Simpson).

A wonderful dialog was that of Robert Gober with Vija Celmins.  Here are some quotes that resonated with us:

“I get very frustrated when people ask me, ‘What does your sculpture mean?’ I respond by talking about what it’s made of and they get impatient, as though I’m avoiding the question.  But I feel that unless you know what it’s physically made of you can’t begin to understand it.  A lot of times the metaphors are imbedded right in the medium and the way that you work.” Robert Gober

“And I was thinking even if nobody gets it, I had a feeling that I could go and I could work.  I don’t know, it’s like building a self through the work.  And then the work sort of reflects some aspects of yourself.  And I don’t mean the brain. I mean like, some aspects of your body and your emotions – and your brain.” Vija Celmins commenting on making her artwork when she felt her art didn’t fit into the art market in California.

 

Untitled (Big Sea #1), Vija Celmins, Pencil, 1969— Courtesy McKee Gallery, N.Y.

 

I would go driving around in the New Mexico desert consoling myself by mindlessly picking up rocks and throwing them in my car.  Later, unloading them in my studio, I had this moment of inspiration.  They seemed so beautiful, I wanted to make them myself.  I wanted to see how close I could come; that’s how the piece started.  There was never any symbolism or any real idea.  I just went back to looking, which I guess is a theme that runs through my work.  Looking at stuff and sort of regenerating something in me that keeps wanting to live – something that sustains me that I’d forgotten about. Vija Celmins commenting on her piece “To Fix the Image in Memory”

 

Vija Celmins " To Fix the Image in Memory" (1977-82) Elleven small stones and their duplicates, made of painted cast bronze.

 

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About abiggerworldyet

Visual Artist Brother Sojourner College Professor Christ follower
This entry was posted in Artists of Interest and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Gober and Celmins, a Conversation

  1. lomagirl says:

    I know this book- I don’t think I read all of it, but perhaps a prof recommended it or it was a text in a creative workshop a year or two ago. Great quotes.

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