Monday 3 November 2014

Louise Bourgeois at Tate Modern

Louise Bourgeois at Tate Modern.
A four-room display of prints, drawings and books. Bourgeois returned to print-making in the 1990s.

Sleeping Man, 1994 (drypoint on paper)

Woman in a Bathtub, 1994


Toilette, 1994, (drypoint on paper)

Woman and Clock, 1994 (drypoint and aquatint on paper)

Birth, 1994, (drypoint on paper)

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The following large-scale etchings were created in the last years of Bourgeois's life in collaboration with the publisher Benjamin Shiff of Osiris Press with whom she had worked since the late 1980s.

Showing both figurative and abstract elements these etchings are extraordinarily large: multiple prints were taken of some, while others became the basis of unique works with hand additions and sometimes collaged elements.


Love and Kisses, 2007

The Smell of Eucalyptus, No. 1 and 2, 2006

My Inner Life, 2008

The Unfolding, 2007

Look Up, 2009

A Baudelaire, 2008


The Nest, 2009

Les Fleurs, 2007

Turning Inwards, 2008

The Sketch, 2006

Are you in Orbit? No. 1, 2007

Are you in Orbit? No. 2, 2007
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In the 1990s Bourgeois started using clothes and linens she had kept in her closets for decades. She made a number of fabric books and 'drawings' in collaboration with a seamstress whom she trusted to faithfully translate her ideas.

Bourgeois was interested in psychoanalytic interpretations of 'reparation', in which a subject makes amends for the instinctive violence enacted on a loved one, starting with the relationship between mother and infant. This concept fed her imaginative use of fabric and was explored through her portfolio of prints titled La Reparation.


Ode a la Bievre, 2007 
This fabric book presents an abstract visual poem to the river that ran alongside the Bourgeois family house. Its tannic water was used to fix the dyes in the wool-fibres used for tapestry restoration. As a symbol of the unconscious mind, water is a recurring theme in many of the drawings Bourgeois, a chronic insomniac, made during sleepless nights. For her, the repetitive, rhythmic act of drawing abstract, geometric patterns had a soothing effect.


What is the Shape of this Problem? 1999

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The exploration of  birth, reproduction, motherhood, sexuality and human relationships were some of the themes that preoccupied Bourgeois in the last years of her life. She created a striking body of red gouache-wash drawings that explored these themes. 'If you hold a naked child against your naked breast, it is not the end of softness, it is the beginning of softness... it is life itself. I felt that when I represented the two naked bodies of the mother and child I can still her body and her love' - her feelings about motherhood were bound up with longing for her own mother.


Couple, 2009

The Feeding 2007

The Friendly Landscape, 2008

The Family, 2008
Femme, 2007

Couple, 2007

The Good Mother, 2008

The Birth, 2007

The Feeding, 2007

The Good Mother, 2007

The Family, 2009