Born in France in 1911, and working in America from 1938 until her death in 2010, Louise Bourgeois is recognised as one of the most important and influential artists of the twentieth century. For over seven decades, Bourgeois’s creative process was fuelled by an introspective reality, often rooted in cathartic re-visitations of early childhood trauma and frank examinations of female sexuality. Articulated by recurrent motifs (including body parts, houses and spiders), personal symbolism and psychological release, the conceptual and stylistic complexity of Bourgeois’s oeuvre–employing a variety of genres, media and materials–plays upon the powers of association, memory, fantasy, and fear.Read More
Bourgeois’s work is inextricably entwined with her life and experiences: fathoming the depths of emotion and psychology across two- and three-dimensional planes of expression. ‘Art,’ as she once remarked in an interview, ‘is the experience, the re-experience of a trauma.’ Arising from distinct and highly individualised processes of conceptualisation, Bourgeois’s multiplicity of forms and materials enact a perpetual play: at once embedding and conjuring emotions, only to dispel and disperse their psychological grasp. Employing motifs, dramatic colours, dense skeins of thread, and vast variety of media, Bourgeois’s distinctive symbolic code enmeshes the complexities of the human experience and individual introspection.
Rather than pursuing formalist concerns for their own sake, Bourgeois endeavoured to find the most appropriate means of expressing her ideas and emotions, combining a wide range of materials – variously, fabric, plaster, latex, marble and bronze – with an endless repertoire of found objects. Although her oeuvre traverses the realms of painting, drawing, printmaking, and performance, Bourgeois remains best known for her work in sculpture.
Bourgeois’s early works include her distinct Personages from the late 1940s and early 1950s; a series of free-standing sculptures which reference the human figure and various urban structures, including skyscrapers. The Personages served as physical surrogates for the friends and family Bourgeois had left behind in France, while also highlighting an interest in architecture dating back to her childhood. Her installation of these sculptures as clustered ‘environments’ in 1949 and 1950 foreshadowed the immersive encounters of installation art twenty years before the genre’s rise to prominence.
Bourgeois’s work was included in the seminal exhibition Eccentric Abstraction, curated by Lucy Lippard for New York’s Fischbach Gallery in 1966. Major breakthroughs on the international scene followed with The Museum of Modern Art in New York’s 1982 retrospective of her work; Bourgeois’s participation in Documenta IX in 1992; and her representation of the United States at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993.
In 2001, Bourgeois was the first artist commissioned to fill the Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall. The Tate Modern’s 2007 retrospective of her works, which subsequently traveled to the Centre Pompidou in Paris; The Guggenheim Museum in New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; and The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., cemented her legacy as a foremost grande dame of late Modernism.
Text courtesy Hauser & Wirth.
Prices didn't reach the heights of the physical fair in 2019, but over a dozen works exceeded the million dollar mark.
Hauser & Wirth's first Virtual Reality exhibition is a simulacrum of the gallery's forthcoming space in Menorca.
For those visiting Art Basel in Hong Kong (29–31 March 2019), find out what is currently making the city's art scene tick with this guide of exhibitions to see.
Anish Kapoor, Louise Bourgeois, Rachel Whiteread, Gerhard Richter. These may not be names that spring to mind when you think of the British Museum, but they all have work filed away in its extensive archive of prints and drawings. 'Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing from 1970 to Now' lifts a lid on a lesser-known collection at a museum renowned...
Celebrated for her giant sculptural spiders, stitched together fabric figures and psychologically charged cell installations, Louise Bourgeois continually found inspiration for her artwork in her troubled childhood. Although most people associate the revered artist, who died in 2010 at 98, with figuration, there was another, more formal side to...
VARDØ, Norway — It was but weeks ago that US Senator Lindsey Graham responded with a sneer to a protestor requesting then Supreme Court Justice nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, take a polygraph test: 'why don't we dunk him in water and see if he floats?' The figure of the hunted witch has been evoked often in 2018, the year I finally realized a...
Everyone has their own New York anniversary, and mine was the time in 1998 when I met Louise Bourgeois on Valentine's Day. I was staying with my friend who lived on St. Mark's Place, and one day, while walking down West 20th street in Chelsea, he pointed to a brownstone and said, with a little tremble in his voice, 'That's where Louise Bourgeois...
‘Art was for Louise a system of self-knowledge... of discharging tensions and anxieties, of exorcising early traumas.’ Philip Larratt-Smith discusses Louise Bourgeois’s sculpture The Three Graces (1947), included in Hauser & Wirth’s presentation at Art Basel. A poignant example from the artist’s seminal series of iconic works entitled...
Louise Bourgeois. The Red Sky is an intimate presentation of never before exhibited works on paper from the final years of the artist’s life, created between 2007 and 2009, with words and images mining Bourgeois’s central themes of memory, trauma, nature, and the body.
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.
Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.