Art for Mondays: Louise Bourgeois

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Louise Bourgeois in 1982 with Filette (1968), 1982 Robert Mapplethorpe

“For over seven decades, but in especially mordant, tough and compelling ways over the last 30 years of her career, Bourgeois — perhaps the last twisted sphinx of surrealistic psychology, and the final vehicle of Abstract Expressionistic seriousness — turned the stuff of childhood trauma, oedipal desire, raging fury and human sexuality into moving sculptures” Read more of Jerry Saltz’s essay The Heroic Louise Bourgeois.

“The fact that Fillette looks unfinished, a sort of work in process, clearly has something to do with the plaster and the latex of which it is made. And a good deal to do with Bourgeois’ gestural handling, for the sculpture is an expressionistic construction. It is a superb example of her at her original best, that is, of the originality that allows her to resolve conflicts creatively — to let the opposites flow into each other so that there is no sense of formal contradiction (nor of self-contradiction) but only of inevitable unity. But the phallus’s unfinished appearance suggests that Bourgeois has not emotionally finished with it. It partakes in modern primitivism — it’s even more uncannily primitive, indeed, less slick, than the penises on certain African sculptures of male figures — and she has primitive feelings towards it.” Read more of Donald Kuspit’s The Phallic Woman.

 

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