Blackboard Tableau #12

Blackboard Tableau #12


Vija Celmins

(American, 1938-)

One found tablet, one made tablet; wood, leather, acrylic, alkyd oil and pastel

Overall: 28 x 47 x 1 cm (11 x 18 1/2 x 3/8 in.)

Scott Mueller Collection 4.2021

Did you know?

Vija Celmins's first project utilizing the technique of bronze casting and painting to replicate everyday objects was in the artwork To Fix the Image in Memory (1977–82), in which she recreated 11 rocks to replicate original stones she found in New Mexico.


Vija Celmins’s Blackboard Tableau #12 is a pair of seemingly identical blackboards; however, one was found and the other was made by the artist. Through her exquisite observation of detail, Celmins generates an alliance between the mass-produced commonplace object and the uniquely crafted one, inviting viewers’ close observation to discern the original from the reproduction. The choice of medium—an antique blackboard—can be read as a meditation on the “blank slate” of the artist’s canvas before setting to work.

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