the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel

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JENNY HOLZER CURATES A SHOW ON LOUISE BOURGEOIS

 

kunstmuseum basel is presenting louise bourgeois’ work as seen by jenny holzer’s eyes. in an exhibition titled louise bourgeois x jenny holzer – the violence of handwriting across a page, the show sees an unprecedented encounter between two giants of american art.

 

‘the friendship between bourgeois and holzer forms the basis of this ambitious project, which might be understood as an homage by the younger artist to the older, but it is much more than that.’ comments the official release. ‘while at first glance their work might seem radically different, there is a parallel in the artists’ use of language and, in particular, the written word.’ 

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
nature study, louise bourgeois, 1984
image by kunstmuseum basel – jonas hänggi

 

HOLZER CREATED A THEMATIC GROUP OF BOURGEOIS’ WORK

 

well-known for expressing her ideas and opinions predominately through light projections and signs, american-born artist jenny holzer was given carte blanche to realize the louise bourgeois x jenny holzer – the violence of handwriting across a page exhibition at kunstmuseum basel. for the exhibition, holzer created a thematic group of bourgeois’ work throughout the nine galleries on the top floor of the museum. the presentation forgoes chronology in favor of an intuitive and poetic logic, resulting in a layered narrative about memory, the five sense, landscape, the unconscious, sexuality, motherhood, trauma and creativity.

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
garment from performance “she lost it”, louise bourgeois 1992

 

language has been a medium used by both artists, who have employed it in a wide variety of media and formats. holzer, on one hand, uses it to dissect and question the power relations that govern politics, gender roles, economic and society.

 

on the other hand, bourgeois wrote obsessively, leaving a vast archive containing diaries and letters, exploring the depths of her inner psychic landscape. in her work, she embroidered works on textiles, stamped them into lead plaques, inscribed on prints, and included in certain of her cell installations, among others.

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
nothing escapes me, louise bourgeois, 2001
image by christopher burke

 

in the exhibition, holzer has moved beyond the walls and has staged interventions throughout the space. for example, the passageway connecting the neubau and the hapbau is occupied by bourgeois’ twosome (1991), a rarely seen piece. the massive mechanical installation, which resembles a railroad tank car and moves back and forth on a tract, embodies the dynamic oscillation between male and female, attraction and repulsion, union and separation, and mother and child.

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
you are the greatest, louise bourgeois, 1991
image by christopher burke

 

the show is accompanied by an artist’s book, where holzer has created a narrative of bourgeois’ art and writings in full-page juxtapositions of often radically cropped compositions. the book puts bourgeois’ works into dialogue with works from the kunstmuseum basel’s historical collections.

 

jenny-holzer-louise-bourgeois-kunstmuseum-basel-designboom-005

twosome, louise bourgeois 1991
image by kunstmuseum basel – jonas hänggi

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
louise bourgeois in her home on 20th street in new york, 2004
image by pouran esrafily

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
femme maison, louise bourgeois, 1982
image by kunstmuseum basel – jonas hänggi

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
topiary, louise bourgeois, 2005
image by kunstmuseum basel – jonas hänggi

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
untitled (i have been to hell and back), louise bourgeois, 1996
image by christopher burke

the work of louise bourgeois as seen by jenny holzer at kunstmuseum basel
in the exhibition “louise bourgeois x jenny holzer” at kunstmuseum basel | neubau
image by xandra m. linsin

 

exhibition info:

 

name: louise bourgeois x jenny holzer – the violence of handwriting across a page
location: kunstmuseum basel | neubau and hauptbau
dates: february 19–may 15, 2022
curated by: jenny holzer and anita haldeman

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