Thursday 21 July 2022

Maman by Louise Bourgeois

We went to the Niarchos Cultural Centre to see a photography exhibition and Maman by Louise Bourgeois.

We walked along the artificial canal

and eventually we could see the sculpture across the water.

We crossed over to the other side

and reached the sculpture.

Bourgeois' giant spiders are amongst her most famous works of art.  This is one of the first of the series, made of steel, nearly fifty years after she made her first drawing of a spider in 1947. 

Maman, the largest in the series, is made of steel and marble and stands at over 10 metres tall. It was created for the Tate Modern's first Turbine Hall commission in 2000. 

We did see the installation at the Turbine Hall but it was before I started blogging, so I have no record of it. You can however see more of Bourgeois' work, including some of her spiders, here

With marble eggs in its abdomen, the sculpture embodies ideas of maternal protection. Bourgeois stated that Maman was symbolic of her mother, a weaver and tapestry restorer, with whom she was very close and whose early death propelled Bourgeois into using art to explore feelings of loss and abandonment. 'My best friend was my mother, and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat and useful as a spider'.

The body of spider creates a unique architectural experience that acts as a metaphor for the home and its web of human relationships and woven interdependencies. Maman also reflects Bourgeois' ambiguous, contradictory and complex feelings about her own experience of motherhood. Dominating its surroundings, Maman evokes fear by suggesting entrapment, and challenges our psyches by revisiting questions of intimacy, co-existence, and shared predicaments. 'I have failed as a wife, as a woman, as a mother, as a hostess, as an artist, as a business woman... as a daughter, as a sister, I have not failed as a truth seeker'.

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