Sometime in my early 20's I came across a photo/advertisement of an older woman, with a distinctive look of Resolved Artistic Confidence, wearing avery plain black dress and mud boots. Firmly clutched in her right hand, drawn close in to her chest, she holds a phallic sculpture. At that very moment, I knew... from that day forward, my old ideas about life, Art and Feminism, were about to change, dramatically.
Louise Bourgeois, born in 1911, grew up in provincial France, born to a family of tapestry weavers. Her studies went from mathematics to Art. She married and Art Historian and moved to New York. Her early works were surrealist paintings, engravings and moved on to sculpture. Her work was abstract and and progressed to become more controversial and often disturbing as she used latex, found objects and her work began to reflect deep emotions of loneliness, anxiety, aggression and obsession. Her work was hard to categorize, so she remained on the fringe of the art wordl, unwilling to define her 'style'
Around the age of 70, she was granted a Retrospective of her work, a rare offering. Her work was admittedly the result of the trauma from her childhood, discovering that her Governess was also her father's mistress. Bourgeois's artwork is renowned for its highly personal thematic content involving love traumas, sexual fetish, and the body. She has always considered art-making a therapeutic process. Her sculptures explore women's deepest feelings on birth, sexuality and death.
Louise died at 98.
In short, she has exploded the way I view Art and expression.
" It is obvious that men and women are different, I don't have to prove it"
It is very difficult to be a woman and be likeable, you see, this desire to be likeable, it is really...a pain in the neck. How are you going to be likeable? AND BE YOURSELF?" Louise Bourgeois
The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine-a documentary...