Archive for Louise Bourgeois

The art of Confession. Read all about it – Exclusive! Did you make the bed?

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART QUOTES, HISTORY with tags , , , on September 28, 2012 by echostains

We live in the times of the Confessional.  Privacy is not exclusive.  Well it sort of IS actually…. You can read these ‘exclusive’ stories every day in the newspapers.  It’s amazing how privacy flies out of the window when the price is right…

The act of the confessing is supposed to be between God and the confessor (using the Priest as a mediator or a conduit).  It seems that the act of confessing all has now become an art form, Tracey Emin is a living ambassador of the confessional art, (sometimes known as autobiographical).  In order for the confession to be of any interest to the average audience though, it has to have a shock factor, an air of secrecy and exclusivity, and that is where it falls down (when it loses its exclusivity, where it’s shared among the media and therefore becomes common knowledge.  That doesn’t stop people being interested in others dirty washing though!

Fly on the wall documentaries, and ‘reality’programmes like Big BrotherThe Osbournes   andI’m a Celebrity – get me out of here! now provide popular entertainment .  The confessional aspect of these shows requires starstruck voyeurs to really work. – and we have become a nation of voyeurs (or ‘observers’, as we like to call ourselves).  The Jeremy Kyle Show has even won an award for this abrasive style of interogation (though not much arm twisting is involved to get guests to ‘spill the beans’ or air their dirty washing)  A strange camera technique is used to throw the participant’s face into hideous relief showing up each blemish, wrinkle etc.  the victim is then shouted at , told to ‘grow a pair’ and sent off to a ‘good cop’ (Kyle is ‘Bad cop’) for ‘after care’

Perhaps these shows make us feel better about ourselves or maybe some of the issues they deal with (well, touch upon) actually do affect us, or we have experience of them?  There’s also the added bonus whilst watching these types of shows of the realisation that things could be a lot worse in our own world. I must add though that the reverse is true for me when I watch The Antiques Road Show and see all the personal stuff people have been left and are willing to part for a few quid.  Having never been left anything – and having no rich relatives so never likely to be left anything,  I do confess to a feeling of envy. 😦

The act of confessing is said to  have a cathartic effect: though sometimes the opposite can occur. The opening up of old wounds, the telling of secrets: especially when these ‘secrets’ hurt or effect others lives.

Many agree that the original founder of Confessional art is the French  American artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois (b 1911 – 2010) . In this interview   (celebrating her 70th birthday and her Retrospective) she revealed  that  her sculptures are mostly self confessional, and that the materials used are personal and symbolic to her and represent parts of her personal life that she felt she needed to ‘explain’ or come to terms with.  There’s a great article about this here

Here’s some quotes by the great sculptress;-

I’m neither a preacher nor a teacher.”

“If the artwork is true, then it will communicate and have value to others.”

“Trust yourself. In your art you must tell your own story and if you tell your own story, you will be interesting.”

“My art is a form of psychoanalysis. I was able to exorcise my demons through art.”

Artist Tracey Emin’s  is  a story-teller.  Her art  is a dichotomy.  On the one hand, it is very self absorbed – all about herself and her experiences – yet it reaches out through its narrative and we become absorbed in it through the artist’s way of communication, which is very powerful.

Roberta Smith of The New Yorker says the following about Tracey’s work:

“If Tracey Emin could sing, she might be Judy Garland, a bundle of irresistible, pathetic, ferocious, self-indulgent, brilliant energy. Since she can’t, or doesn’t, she writes, incorporating autobiographical texts and statements into drawings, monoprints, watercolors, collages, quilts, neon sculptures, installations and videotapes. In her art she tells all, all the truths, both awful and wonderful, but mostly awful, about her life. Physical and psychic pain in the form of rejection, incest, rape, abortion and sex with strangers figure in this tale, as do love, passion and joy.”

The art of the confessional is here to stay – both in the art world and the media.  People will always want to read all about it in Heat magazine or biographys.  Anyone can do it – just make sure you get your story straight……. and don’t tell everything….. leave that for your next book.

Confessional box image from here

Town crier image – here

Louise Bourgeois  images from here and here

Bourgeois quotes from here and here

Roberta Smith interview quote from here

Jeremy Kyle image here

Emin tent image from here Neon sign image here

PLUS

Happy birthday Pablo Picasso

PS  There’s a brand new post over on my other blog BOOKSTAINS

Happy Birthday L S  Lowry! (1st November 1887)  I shall be writing a post about him

Weaver of webs Louise Borgeois

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, SCULPTURE with tags , , , on June 2, 2010 by echostains

Last week I wrote about French-born American Abstract expressionist sculptor Louise Bourgeois and featured her Mamam in my post about the Tate Modern.   She is very well-known for her gigantic spiders:_

The Spider is an ode to my mother,” Louise Bourgeois once said. “She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver… Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences… spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.”

louise_bourgeois eye to eye 1970

 Sadly, Bourgeois died at the age of 98 on Monday. I find it amazing that this tiny woman was so prolific and still working at nearly 100 years of age!  She was born in Paris in 1911 to tapestry restorers and when she later moved to New York, she found the art scene was totally dominated by men.  Her husband was critic Robert Goldwater.

Maman

Hers was a passionate personality, she was filled with darkness, outrage and anger over her father’s affair with her governess.  She translated these emotions into her art.  Bourgeois became famous and popular when she was in her 70’s when she had her first major exhibition.

Her work is not to everyone’s taste, and some have found it disturbing, but I find it dark interesting with many layers.  Through her work she translates childhood trauma and sexuality.   Her art is always linked with the past and very emotional.   In this short film she says that her emotions are inappropriate to her size – that they are her ‘demons’.  Her demons have turned out to be her lifetimes work and she has made a major contribution to sculpture as a media.

Arch of hysteria

 There is a lovely obituary in the Telegraph

There is a lovely article about her here and many videos about her work on YouTube

Maman image from here, Louise Bourgeois pic from here arch of hysteria here

Happy 10th Birthday Tate Modern!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, exhibitions, LONDON (JAUNTS) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by echostains

Tate Modern from the riverside

The month of May is nearly over and I cannot let it pass without wishing Tate Modern a Happy 10th Birthday.  I have been to the Tate Modern many times and seen quite a few exhibitions.  The Tate Modern galleries are built  in the space of Bankside Power station which closed in 1981 and the building was converted by Herzog and de Meuron: the contractors were Carillion.  It is a National Museum of International art.

Louise Bourgeois 'Maman'

In 2001 I remember seeing Maman the  gigantic spider of then 89-year-old French-born sculptress Louise Bourgeois.   The turbine hall is a colossal space  (five storeys tall with 3,400 square metres of floorspace).  the spider 30 ft high and made of blackened stainless steel  carried 26 white marble eggs underneath her belly.  She towered over people who gazed up in awe.  Another exhibition I saw at the Tate was Katherina Fritsch (b. 1956 Germany) whose sculptures reflect fairytales and myths. I wrote a post about this exhibition here.  2001 was the year I saw the Turner Prize at Tate Britain – won by Martin Creed with his famous light  which turned on and off…… 

In 2002 Anish Kapoor’s  (b. India 1954) Marsyas was the star of the Turbine Hall.  150 meters long and 10 storeys high, this sculptural form was inspired by Titian’s 1576 painting ‘The Flaying of Marsyas’.  The Greek myth tells the tale of  Marsyas, a satyr who was flayed alive by the God Apollo because he played the flute better than the God.  This sculpture ran round the Turbine Hall. 

marsyas

 I wondered what would happen if someone blew through this gigantic trumpet!

Marsyas by Anish Kapoor

I was also fortunate to see the Matisse Picasso exhibition that year which I greatly enjoyed.  The way the work was juxtaposed showed the playful rivalry between the pair, each one spurred on by the other to come up with new work, new visions.  I believe Picasso needed this and at the time Matisse was the one who could give him a run for his money.  I still have a souvenir cup of that exhibition and woe betide anyone who breaks it:)

flowing hair matisse and acrobat by picasso

In 2003 I saw an exhibition by sculptor Eva Hesse  (b 1936 – 1970 Germany) exhibition at the Tate Modern.  This artist worked with string, resin and latex in her sculptures. 

Eva Hesse

 I later incorporated  into my paintings.  Apart from this fact and the feeling that the work looked stranded in its environment, I can’t remember too much about it.

Among other exhibitions the Hogarth (2007) one really stands out.  I really like Paula Rego’s transcription of Hogarth’s Marriage a la Mode where the artist carries on the story of the ill-fated marriage in contemporary times.  I also chose Rego’s Snow White and her Stepmother to transcribe (see Transcription in my categories).  William Hogarth’s narrative painting fascinates me and I was very well versed in the story of the series Marriage a la Mode.  but I was amazed at just how small these paintings actually are! The details are quite astounding considering the scale of these paintings.

marriage a la mode the marriage settlement

Francis Bacon 2008 was an exhibition very much looked forward to by me.  He is a  favorite artist of mine.  We saw work there we had never seen before: works from private collections leased especially for the retrospective.  As usual the raw power of the paint rippled through the room giving the paintings a brooding presence.

Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X 1953 Bacon

 Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko had an exhibition in 2009.  We didn’t go.  A lot of people really vibrate to Rothko, but I find him very heavy and depressing.   I would have liked to have gone to Chris Offili’s exhibition this year, but we just didn’t have time.  In between Tate modern there are always other exhibitions on at Tate Britain, The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and the Barbican. 

Other important exhibitions I have been to in London include:-

Encounters 2000 National Gallery,

Frank Auerbach retrospective, The Royal Academy 2001,

 Lucien Freud retrospective,Tate Britain 2002, 

Desire unbound surrealism, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Andy Warhol retrospective, Tate Modern 2002, 

  Transition, 2002 Barbican Gallery,

  images from here here and here

Don’t forget my Blogspotlight interview here with artistatexit0