There have been no limits to the media in which Louise Bourgeois has worked out her personal stories. One of the most imaginative creators on the contemporary scene, she incorporated feminist and psychological concepts into art before they became part of... [more]
There have been no limits to the media in which Louise Bourgeois has worked out her personal stories. One of the most imaginative creators on the contemporary scene, she incorporated feminist and psychological concepts into art before they became part of the popular culture. Her hard-to-classify sculptures and assemblages are marked by emotional and erotic intensity.
Born and raised in Paris, Bourgeois enjoyed a pampered childhood, but one marred by difficult family relationships: her father's affair with the family governess was but the most visible symptom of dysfunction. As Bourgeois matured, pursued studies at the Sorbonne and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, married, and moved to the U.S., the mysteries of her childhood remained alive for her and demanded exploration in art: "In order to express unbearable family tensions, I had to express my anxiety with forms that I could change, destroy, and rebuild."
Employing wood, paper, metal, latex, cloth, marble, and other materials to create her highly personal abstract works, Bourgeois drew on Modernist techniques like Cubist collage, but by the '70s began to turn toward the darkly subjective and elaborately eclectic realm of Postmodernism. Her "Destruction of the Father" (1979) presented a cave-like environment where spherical forms bubbled from the walls alongside flesh-colored stalactites. Her works in marble featured highly polished phallic columns clustered atop roughly hewn bases. Other works took animal forms, for instance that of the spider, and explored their symbolic meaning and abstract structures.
Bourgeois' sculptures often blur the distinctions beween interior and exterior, between body and mind and explore the nature and function of memory. Still productive even in her eighties, her work continues to speak to the ways we use our bodies and minds to construct identity-making experiences out of social interaction. [show less]