my make believe collection :: 3 :: louise bourgeois

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon

Louise Bourgeois en 1990 avec sa sculpture en marbre Eye to Eye (1970). © ADAGP, Paris, 2008.
© Photo: Raimon Ramis, D.R.

hello my poppytalk friends. today i want to talk about louise bourgeois. oh louise. a perennial favorite. if i need an art pick me up i can turn to her. her work ethic alone is inspirational [i can only hope i continue to make anything meaningful into my 90's]. her continual exploration of a multitude of mediums - drawing, painting, sculpture [of all kind], is nothing short of admirable.

i think i remember reading somewhere that she buried a bunch of her sculptures in her backyard - before she was famous - she didn't really make the big time until later in life.... she ran out of room to store them and so they were simply planted in the ground. how cool is that? [and if it isn't true i want to pretend that it is].

two of my art friends [ aurora robson , and lacy jane roberts ] actually got to go to her home and meet her. ms. bourgeois held weekend salon's at her house where artists could come [any kind of artist - any media], bring work, and chat. i only wish i had that opportunity. apparently she was a firecracker. brutally honest, whipsmart about work. i can only guess. when you read what she writes about her own work [i have a copy of louise bourgeois - drawings and observations] you see how thoughtful she is - even the "simplest" of drawings has an undertone of meaning that she illuminates in such a clear voice.

Untitled drawing 1967

isn't this just a beautiful drawing? [and so contemporary - the list of artists i can think of that are currently employing similar shapes/colorways easily goes into double digits]. her incredibly personal work simply speaks to me. [she referred frequently to the infidelity of her father, her insomnia... she was born into a family of weavers - mending and the domestic arts were in her blood]. there is often an immediacy, a freshness, a pure sense of will, a movement and spontaneity that i think 1- is hard to consistently generate [which she manages to] and 2- is just refreshing. she makes a mark/or an object and it simply IS. her work [like hesse's] often combines the beautiful and the ugly - or perhaps it feels more like the TRUTH - in a captivating way. it's like the beauty is there to lure you in and then you suck in your breath as your realize that there's another aspect to what is in front of you.

Untitled, 1996, Fabric, lace and thread, Cheim & Read, Galerie Karsten Greve, and Galerie Hauser& Wirth, Photo: Peter Bellamy.

this. this was ALMOST the piece i chose for my collection today. for me it's really hard to resist a slightly sad and stained, human like form wrapped in doilies and the most lovely ice blue's still intact after "all this time".

UNTITLED, 2002, Fabric steel and wood 14 x 15 x 6 inches, Cheim & Read Gallery

this one was ALMOST the one too. i love the subtle stripes. the very obviously hand-done patchwork. the absurd verging on violent egg beater stabbed into this headless voluptuous womanly form made me both cringe and laugh.

Untitled, 2005,Fabric and stainless steel, 67 x 12 x 12 in, Hauser + Wirth, Photo: Christopher Burke

but then i spied this. and this just won. the subtle color shifts - the perfect rusts and golds with that hint of pale blue... [and check out the lone patterned one - about 6 up from the bottom. how perfect is that?]... the enormity of this pile [i have a thing for piles]. it's like a monument - a totem pole - the feminine version. it's not perfect. it's not slick. the labor needed to make it is obvious. it progresses from large to small - making us feel smaller and smaller as we look up. i can't help but be reminded of the princess and pea too. i also think about piles of laundry, or the idea of ticking off domestic tasks - like with an abacus - one by one until the tasks form this tower.... bourgeois also talked a lot about progression - and used ladders - ladders of success - as symbols - this is one that is impossible to climb. i have to say that i was struck by the fact that i could find something that i would want to own in practically every stage of her career of making.

i wonder - as i start to build this collection will i ever be able to simply show you ONE piece of an artist and just say i like this piece and there were no other ones in contention.... probably not. until next time..... happy pretend collection.

Blog Archive

My Zimbio
Top Stories My Ping in