Introducing Louise Bourgeois
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Introducing Louise Bourgeois : sculptor, painter, installation artist. (French, lived in USA, 1911 – 2010.). Cell (Arch of hysteria), 1992, steel, bronze, cast iron, fabric, 302 x 368 x 304cm.

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Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Introducing Louise Bourgeois: sculptor, painter, installation artist. (French, lived in USA, 1911 – 2010.)

Cell (Arch of hysteria), 1992, steel, bronze, cast iron, fabric, 302 x 368 x 304cm


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Bourgeois’s work is intensely autobiographical. It is often based upon descriptions of the body or body parts (or things that look like some kind of body part.) When she was a young child, her father started a long affair with her live-in governess. At around the same time, her mother became severely ill and the young child Louise was her carer. As well, Louise played a working role in the family tapestry-repair business. These experiences were intensely traumatic and were the inspiration for all her work.

Also, the general fact of being a female artist in the first half of the century, producing rather disturbing work, would have been quite difficult. She was a wife and mother as well, so had responsibilities other than her art.

.

Femmes Maison, (Women Houses), drawings, dimensions various, 1946-7.


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Destruction of the father, installation, 1974, plaster, latex, fabric, red light. 237 x 362 x 248cm

Detail, below


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Bourgeois was associated with the Surrealists in the 1940s when she first moved to the USA from Europe. Like the Surrealists, she was interested in the unconscious and in sexuality. However she was very individual, working outside of any particular art movement. Right up until her death at 98 she was interested in art and working on her own practise.

Eccentric Growth, ink on paper, 1965, 24x33cm

Organic proliferation is a common

Theme in Bourgeois’s work…that is, the way things naturally grow, multiply, bulge and flow. Often this echoes what happens in various parts of our bodies.


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

During the 1990s she developed the theme of the ‘Cell’ –

an installation that looks like a prisoner’s or monk’s cell, or a room of some kind. It generally has a bed, or at least a domestic sense – tables, chairs. She has done many of these, with various contents. Sometimes they are very spooky and creepy, others are more compassionate or gentle. All of them are mysterious.

Detail>>

Cell II, detail, 1991

Cell – (glass, spheres and hands), 1990-93>


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

This in-built contradiction between protection / imprisonment is an on-going theme,

explored in different ways over the decades.

Cell – precious liquids, 1992

Cell (eyes and mirrors) detail, 1989-93


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Another somewhat similar theme is the ‘lair’. Again, there is security but also containment

Lair, 1986-2000, lead, 109 x 53 x 53cm

Articulated lair, 1986

Installation.


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Spider IV, there is security but also containment1996

Maman, (Mother), 1999. Bourgeois created various versions of this sculpture, either in bronze

or steel. Dimensions 927 X 892 X 1024CM


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

The artist with her sculpture, there is security but also containmentFillette, (Little Girl), 1982. Photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe.

Sexual themes are never far away from Bourgeois’s practice. ….

Can we locate Bourgeois’s practice within what we have learnt about various art styles /movements?

Trani Episode, 1971-2, marble, 60 x 60 x 58cm


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Magritte, there is security but also containmentThe Lovers,

1928

Leonora Carrington (UK 1917-2011), Portrait of the late Mrs Partridge, 1947.

Dali, The accommodation of desire, oil and collage on cardboard, 22 x 34cm, 1929


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Eugene there is security but also containmentCarriere, The First Communion,

oil on canvas,65cm x 53cm, c. 1896.

Edvard Munch, The Scream,

1896

Fernand Khnopff, The sphinx, 1896


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

HSC QUESTION….JUST FOR FUN there is security but also containment

Q.: Analyse Meret Oppenheim’s practice with reference to the plates and text.

(14 marks;25 minutes)

Meret Oppenheim worked and exhibited with the Surrealists: Andre Breton, Marcel

Duchamp and Max Ernst. The Surrealists were interested in exploring the unconscious.

Plate 1: Meret Oppenheim, 1913-1985 Germany, Ma gouvernante(my nurse), 1936, metal, leather, and paper. 14 x 21 x 33cm, ModernaMuseet Stockholm.


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Oppenheim was 23 years old when she achieved sensational success with Object. It was

purchased in the same year by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Object rapidly

became one of the most recognised works of the Surrealist movement.

‘Who covers the soup spoon with precious fur? Little Meret. Who has outstripped

us? Little Meret.’ Text on the invitation to Meret Oppenheim’s first exhibition, 1936, Max Ernst.

Plate 2: Meret Oppenheim, 1913-1985 Germany, Object (Luncheon in Fur), 1936, fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon. 10.9cm diameter of cup; 23.7cm diameter of saucer; 20.2cm length of spoon. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

http://www.moma.org/explore/multimedia/audios/3/59


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Victor Brauner, (Romania, 1903-1966) success with Loup-table

(Wolf-table), table and fox parts, 1939-47

Dora Maar (French, 1907-1997), Sans Titre, (untitled), 1934,Photograph.


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

The success with Surrealist Object did not bring objects

together for their formal values or

beauty. It was with a different intention,

the intention to create an unsettling effect

which may help us access a deeper or

different reality. It makes us mentally ‘wobble’,

just for a moment.

Joan Miro, (Spanish 1893-1983), Object, assemblage,

81 x 30 x 26, 1936


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Exquisite Corpse: success with a game of chance where you did a drawing, then folded the paper over

So the next person could not see anything, then they did a drawing of their own, etc.

Andre Breton, Tristan Tzara, & Greta Knutson,

Landscape: exquisite corpse, c. 1933,

coloured pencil on paper, 24 x 31cm


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Frottage: success with drawing on a support ( a canvas or piece of paper), which is itself laying over a textured surface. Rubbing or drawing over the support brings the contours of the underneath surface through onto the canvas or paper.

The idea behind this technique is that the artist cannot rationally control the outcome. There is a transformation; an entry into new imagery.

Max Ernst, Conjugal diamonds, frottage, 1926, 49cm x 32cm


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Decalcomania success with

Paint of some kind, or even ink is laid down on a support – paper, glass – and then it’s folded in half, or another piece of paper is placed upon it and squished so that the paint is transferred in ways that cannot be predicted. Then an image may be created from this blob or blot.

Oscar Dominguez, (French, 1906-1957), Untitled, decalcomania using gouache, 1936-7, 15 x 21cm


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Q: Looking at Plates 1 & 2, using the success with

Structural Frame briefly outline three

ways the artists have used images

and /or symbols to convey meaning.

(10 minutes, 5 marks )

Plate 1: Andy Goldsworthy (UK B 1956) Ends of

Bamboo, 1987, installation Japan.

Plate 2: Michael Riley, (Aust. Indigenous, 1960-2004)

Untitled, from the series Cloud, 2000, digital

Pigment print, 110 x 155cm


Cell arch of hysteria 1992 steel bronze cast iron fabric 302 x 368 x 304cm

Louise Bourgeois sources: success with

Museum of Modern Art, New York: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A710&page_number=&template_id=6&sort_order=1#bio