louise bourgeois at the biennale of sydney 2010 louise bourgeois at the biennale of sydney 2010
jun 07, 2010

louise bourgeois at the biennale of sydney 2010

louise bourgeois was born in paris in 1911 and moved to new york in 1938, where she continued to live and work, until her death in 2010. for over 60 years, bourgeois worked across disciplines, producing sculptures, drawings, paintings and prints dealing with personal memory, emotion and the body. her work is currently on show at the 17th biennale of sydney.

‘cell (glass spheres and hands)’, 1990-1993 glass, iron, wood, linoleum, canvas, marble courtesy of the national gallery of victoria, melbourne, australia image © designboom

first made in the 1980s, bourgeois’ ‘cells’ are large sculptural installations that play on dual ideas of imprisonment and the comfort of enclosure. taking the form of circular or cube-like cages or rooms, these symbolically rich environments are repositories of memory and experience, filled with disparate objects such as figurative sculptures, old clothes, furniture, household items, perfume bottles, wasps’ nests and personal memorabilia. ‘cell (glass, spheres and hands)’ (1990-1993) is a room inhabited by glass bubbles that sit atop roughly made chairs. their contained form implies alienation and the denial of communication, while their fragility and close placement suggests a frustrated but silent communion. on an adjacent table, a pair of marble hands is clasped in despair. an overall impression of vulnerability marks what could be a prison of the past, but also an attempt to understand its intricacies and put them in some kind of order.

detail of the ‘cell’ image © designboom

view inside the ‘cell’ where glass spheres sit on top of roughly made chairs image © designboom

a peak into the ‘cell’ image © designboom

alternate view image © designboom

up close of the glass spheres image © designboom

the cell where a pair of clasped marble hands lies on a table image © designboom

broken glass exterior of the cell image © designboom

installation view of ‘echo’ series, 2007 bronze, painted white and steel courtesy cheim & read, new york and hauser & wirth image © designboom

‘echo’ is a suite of seven bronze sculptures, cast from bourgeois’ discarded clothes that have been draped, stretched and sewn together. alternatively slender or slumped with bulbous folds and creases, they represent maternal feelings of nurturing warmth and organic growth.

‘echo’, 2007 image © designboom

detail of the draping and cast textile textures image © designboom

‘echo’, 2007 image © designboom

‘echo’, 2007 image © designboom

‘echo’, 2007 image © designboom

detail image © designboom

‘echo III’, 2007 bronze, silver nitrate patina and steel image © designboom

‘echo III’, 2007 bronze, silver nitrate patina and steel image © designboom

‘echo III’, 2007 bronze, silver nitrate patina and steel image © designboom

‘echo III’, 2007 bronze, silver nitrate patina and steel image © designboom

installation view of ‘echo’ series, 2007 image © designboom

‘the couple’, 2007 gouache on paper courtesy cheim & read, new york and hauser & wirth image © designboom

‘the couple’, a series of 18 bright red gouache drawings, depict stylized and ambiguous couplings, with figures that smudge and bleed in an arresting visual metaphor for the blurred lines between self and other in the struggles for an intimate, sustained and fertile relationship.

detail of ‘the couple’, 2007 photo by designboom

detail of ‘the couple’, 2007 photo by designboom

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