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Louise Bourgeois.
I Have Been to Hell and Back

10 Jun. 2015 27 Sep. 2015

Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911, into a well-to-do family that ran a workshop that restored medieval and Renaissance tapestries. In 1938, she moved to the United States, where she was to live for the rest of her life. A member of the American Abstract Artists Group, she achieved critical acclaim and commercial success at the age of 71, following the retrospective organized by MoMA in 1982. Her original and complex oeuvre is both diverse and fascinating, examining memory, sexuality, motherhood, human relationships and the quest for balance.

Louise Bourgeois’ career coincided with that of Pablo Picasso in a number of ways: they both produced most of their artistic work in a country other than their own; innovation and experimentation were constant features of their lengthy artistic careers, and their respective oeuvres have served as referents for subsequent generations of artists.

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“FOR ME, SCULPTURE IS THE BODY. MY BODY IS MY SCULPTURE” L.B.
Bourgeois worked with all genres to create her unique, lyrical and radical works: sculpture, drawing, painting, and installation art. She devised sculptures in various formats, produced evocative drawings and engravings, and built unsettling installations. In a world where women were considered second-class artists, Bourgeois’ work acquired iconic status; so much so that she is considered the most important female artist of our time.

After the wooden sculptures she produced in the 1940s, Louise Bourgeois began to experiment with the representation of fragments of the human body. But it was her famous bronze spiders that brought her international fame. So, for this exhibition her sculpture Spider (1996), was installed at MPM. It was almost 8 metres in diameter and over 3m high. This was how the artist depicted her own mother: as an enormous arachnid, patient, protective and endlessly weaving – in direct reference to her mother’s job at the family’s tapestry restoration firm.

 

“I HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK. AND, LET ME TELL YOU, IT WAS WONDERFUL” L.B.
The MPM retrospective showed 101 works by Louise Bourgeois, produced between the 1940s and 2009. Forty-six sculptures in bronze, textiles, latex and aluminium, one cell and one painting, were shown alongside 53 works on paper and fabric, many of which are large-format or produced in series. The works selected for this exhibition covered the complex variety of Bourgeois’ work, and were divided into nine sections: The Runaway Girl, Loneliness, Trauma, Fragility, Natural Studies, Eternal Movement, Relationships, Taking and Giving, and Balance.

Curated by Iris Müller-Westermann and organized with the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, this retrospective brought together over 100 artworks produced over seven decades, one third of which had never been shown before.

As a prelude to the exhibition, visitors were able to see Louise Bourgeois: Photo Album, which takes a look at the artist’s life in photographs. There was also a screening of the documentary directed by Nigel Finch in 1994 for the BBC, Louise Bourgeois: No Trespassing, and a video produced by Museo Picasso Málaga containing interviews with Jerry Gorovoy, chairman the Louise Bourgeois Foundation, The Easton Foundation, New York; the exhibition’s curator, Iris Müller-Westermann; and the artistic director of MPM, José Lebrero Stals.

Following on from the exhibition Sophie Tauber-Arp. Avant-garde Pathways (October, 2009 - January, 2010) and Hilma-af-Klint. A Pioneer of Abstraction (October, 2013 - February, 2014), Museo Picasso Málaga was once again presenting a retrospective that highlights artworks produced by the women in art history.

Special thanks to Hauser & Wirth
Sponsored by CaixaBank
In collaboration with Institut Français in Spain

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LOUISE BOURGEOIS 1911-2010: TIMELINE

A journey through the life and work of Louise Bourgeois

Audiovisuals

Videos on the exhibition and the Spider installation

SEMINAR 'LOUISE BOURGEOIS. i have been to hell and back'

11th and 12th June 2015. Audios are available here

Audioguide

Discover the basic keys to understand the work of Bourgeois

I DO I UNDO I REDO

Sew, weave and knit inspired by Louise Bourgeois' work

Guided Tours and Art Techniques Workshops

Different ways to approach the work by Bourgeois

Summer workshops and workbooks for children

A Day with Louise Bourgeois

Saturday 27th June and Saturday 26th September 2015

CATALOGUE

With essays by Iris Müller-Westermann and Léa Vuong; and an interview between the artist and Christiane Meyer-Thoss

#LOUISEBOURGEOIS

Highlights

Video

I HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK

With Jerry Gorovoy, Iris Müller-Westermann and José Lebrero Stals

Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010

TIMELINE

A journey through the life and work of the artist

A SPIDER AT THE MUSEUM

How is the installation of a Louise Bourgeois spider? Click here to view