As the title of the exhibition indicates, every sculpture on display is suspended from wired cables, constructed out of different mediums ranging from fabrics, urethane rubber and aluminum. Alongside a collection of six black ink drawings from the 1940s on the suspension theme seen throughout Bourgeois’ career.
This form of display gives the pieces the freedom to twist and sway in their own space, as if they had their own physical control and emotions similar to a human being.
Bourgeois tracked her fixation with hanging objects to the way her father used to hang his collection of wooden chairs from beams. She enjoyed the way the objects looked suspended from above. The artist described her first work as the fear of falling, later becoming the art of falling and concluding with the art of just hanging there. “Horizontality is a desire to give up, to sleep. Verticality is an attempt to escape. Hanging and floating are states of ambivalence.”
Bourgeois is credited with being the founder of Confessional Art; a form of contemporary art that encourages either the artist, their subjects or spectator to confess personal emotions or experiences. Even though her pieces initially give the impression of being abstract, the greatest were inspired by her recollections of her childhood’s emotions of loneliness, deception and anxiety mostly caused by her father’s betrayal to her loving but too complicit mother. To Bourgeois, her work allowed her to communicate and expose her inner being to the outside world. It was her form of psychoanalysis.
“The truth is that Freud did nothing for artists, or for the artist’s problem, the artist’s torment- to be an artist involves some suffering. That’s why artist repeat themselves- because they have no access to a cure… the need of artist remains unsatisfied, as does their torment.” Louise Bourgeois
Fillette (sweeter version) is the infamous most photographed and puzzling work of her collection because of its juxtaposition of different male and female body parts. A symbol for Bourgeois’ desire to please her father by being the son he wanted her to be.
Bourgeois created the above black and white pieces, reminiscent of bee hives, while going through full analysis sessions with Dr. Henry Lowenfeld, during her most intense period. Fée Couteriére, 1963 (Left), The Quartered one, 1964-65 (center)Lair, 1962 (right)
In the 1970s, she joined The Fight Censorship Group, an organization that fought for female artist’s right to use sexual images or representation in their artwork without being condemned, and bringing awareness to the double standard that were happening in the art community between men and women. Bourgeois was also dedicated to supporting (LGBT) equality rights.In 2011 a year after her death, Spider, one of Bourgeois’s most recognized subjects, the second out of series of six, sold for a record breaking price of $ 10.7 million, making it the highest investment on a art piece created by a female.
The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalog with text by Robert Pincus-Witten.
“Louise Bourgeois: Suspension” will be on view at Cheim & Read until January 10, 2015.
Photos By: Aesthetnik