Monday, June 20, 2016

Louise Bourgeois

Walking into the Louise Bourgeois room at the New Tate Modern, what strikes you at once is the distortion and paranoia of Bourgeois's work--the way it moves you to imagine, and then feel, uncomfortable and anxious. Of all the works in the collection--artifacts, sculptures, etc--the two that cry out for closer observation include Single II and Maman. 

When walking into the Louise Bourgeouis room at the New Tate Modern, the first thing that strikes the observer are the hanging bodies. This provides an eerie cast over the room and makes the spectator want to gaze and wonder at a safe distance. It plants an uncomfortable curiosity within the audience and provokes an internal struggle between a desire to get closer and desire to run away to a happier place. 

The first piece that struck me was Single II, which seemed to be a lifeless body hanging from the ceiling. The figure is obviously a male and is lying back with his arms and legs hanging to the sides. What Bourgeouis was actually trying to represent is hysteria, tension, and pain. After looking at the body language of the figure, we can see that the back is arched at full capacity, bending and wrenching in pain and misery. The pain has finally become unbearable and the agony has completely taken over every fiber of his body.

Another piece that I got a closer look at was Maman. This piece of art is an enormous steel spider with tall, lanky legs stretching down to the floor. The spider carries a mesh sack full of grey and white marble eggs. At first, the spider looks creepy and menacing. In most instances, spiders are meant to provoke fear or even depression, but in Bourgeois's case, the spider represents strength and cleverness. Bourgeouis used the spider to symbolize her mother, who she described to be "deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider" ( This statue has come to symbolize the care and protection that a mother provides for her children. Like the spider, the mother is elegant and striking, but if need be she will be dangerous and threatening. This piece of art also symbolizes many different and emotions within art itself.

Often in art, things aren't always what they seem to be. As an observer, we can't allow our minds to accept the first emotions and perceptions that come to us; we must delve deeper into what the artist is actually trying to tell us. 

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