jueves, 28 de julio de 2016

LOUISE BOURGEOIS by ALMUDENA BLANCO

A colación de que seguimos teniendo aquí en Bilbao la exposición de esta artista, os copio el acercamiento a esta artista por parte de Almudena Blanco.

LOUISE BOURGEOIS
Louise Bourgeois passed away at the age of 98 years in May of 2010 and she kept on working until one week before that happened. This small detail is an extraordinary example of how this bright and genuine woman conceived and experienced art expression like: it was the basic vehicle for her to get through the emotional rapids of life, and also death.
Bourgeois belongs to that category of artists for whom art creation becomes that only possible way of safely getting through daily life. In her case, particularly, the creative practice becomes that second opportunity for her to process the unapproachable, and as a result of that her art pieces ooze a very characteristic type of emotionality: one that reveals in the surface the roughness derived from confronting the uncomfortable, but which does have its origin in the sensitive delicacy of whom was not able to deal with the toughness of the first shove.
Marked by a traumatic childhood, Bourgeois’ work was hardly influenced and based in the deep, strong and non-processed emotions that her father’s tyranny and the presence of his mistress in the family home during 10 years caused to her. As she repeatedly manifested during her life, she never achieved to resolve her childhood experience of male-female relationships and those experiences, and the emotions derived from them, became the foundation where her creative spirit emerged from: the subject of her subsequent life as a sculptor.
In The Destruction of the Father (1974) she explores the exasperation and terrifying feelings present in the memories about her father; through her famous series of Spiders, begun in the late 90s, she deepens in the image of her mother and the relationship with her; in Fillette (1968) she reflects on men fragility and the protection needed by what she names as “male delicacy”. At this respect her role as wife, mother and, essentially, woman, is in detail confronted. Even her Insomnia Drawings are an extraordinary exemplification of how art was present in every instant of Bourgeois’ life needed of assimilation or confrontation.
These pieces turn to be the final product of a process defined by the understanding, assimilation and transformation of the emotions pervading her life. This is the way she used her practice for and, as a reflection of that, process and the product of that process itself are the relevant elements of her artistic expression.
As Bourgeois said, the medium was secondary to her: “the wish to say something antedates the material”. This does not mean that materials were not important to her, but that this element in the global scenario of her creation was, clearly, in a secondary screen.
While during the 60s and 70s other contemporary artists were exploring the possibilities of new materials in fine arts, Bourgeois was devoted to trace her own path in a very much personal, individual, and even independent way. In 1967 Bourgeois started to make trips to Italy with the purpose of deepening in the use of marble and bronze.

She did try the use of, for example, latex as in Fillette (1968) and, later in her career, once she may have felt less pressure to prove herself, she did use sewing as a medium for making sculpture as in Seven in Bed (2001) or Couple (2001). But in essence, Bourgeois swam against the tide in terms of the use of materials. Durable elements became the base her sculptures were made of and, essentially, her own personal discovery was once again the core of her work, unlike the playing-with-materials tendencies of many of the twentieth century avant- gardes.
It is actually not easy, and maybe not even possible, to classify Bourgeois’ work as belonging to a concrete tendency or art movement.
This French artist moved to the United States when she was 27 years old and confronted since then the sort of collage represented by the collection of art movements placed from the end of the 40s onwards. Bourgeois’ eyes witnessed, among others, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Post Minimalism, New Realism and Postmodernism.
While other artists were exploring the last consequences of these new tendencies in art, Bourgeois was, once again, focused in the study of her own emotions and circumstances which basically is equivalent to say she chose confronting universal and basic feelings versus diving in the possibilities of the new art movements. This may be one of the causes why Bourgeois’ work was pretty much invisible until the “Louise Bourgeois Retrospective” exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum of New York in 1982. She was not interested in working on what was tendency at every different decade. She was focused on the work of what was important and relevant in her life. Even this could not prevent this artist to become an icon for the feminist movement or a determinant artistic reference during the 80s. The postmodern artistic climate lived by that decade was one in which the personal and narrative were seen as important elements in art practice and Bourgeois, by then in her seventies, finally spoke out.
From this period onwards Bourgeois’ work primarily manifests itself in a bunch of different installations that talk about passages of her life. Her work becomes, if possible, more narrative and specific about the moments of her life that are being represented. Belong to this period her Cell series (1989-93), the Red Room (1994) or the Passage Dangereux (1997), among others.
Bourgeois expressed in many occasions that it was really anger what made her work, pointing out that making sculptures was her way to transform ugliness in love.
A very prolific artist, responsible of having made some of the more relevant pieces of the last 100 years, Bourgeois most important contribution has been, however, her example of coherence with her inherent natural necessity of working as an artist.
In Bourgeois’ own words, art is a guaranty of sanity. In my words, her work is a mirror of honesty and also help to sanity for the rest of us.