‘Louise Bourgeois. Drawing Intimacy 1939-2010’ invites the viewer into the artist’s private world. This exhibition forms a collection of highly personal memories and ideas that in turn reflect the complexity and intimacy of Bourgeois’s practice.
The works presented span the breadth of the artist’s internationally celebrated oeuvre, from a rarely exhibited early wall relief and selection of plaster sculptures to previously unshown paintings, drawings, and multi-layered works on paper. Most of the etchings, enhanced by hand in watercolour and gouache, were made during the last four years of Bourgeois’s life and often feature words or phrases which evoke associations and memories of people and places she had known. The interaction of image and text crystallizes the interplay of past and present. An elegiac note prevails, an awareness of life’s brevity and fragility.
This exhibition serves as a powerful metaphor for the need, as Bourgeois said, ‘For peace, a complete peace with the self, with others, and with the environment.’ Unfolding across two galleries in Somerset, it highlights both the sensitivity and strength of Bourgeois’s singular artistic vision: ‘It is not an image I am seeking. It is not an idea. It is an emotion you want to recreate, and emotion of wanting, of giving, and of destroying.’
This autumn, ‘Louise Bourgeois. Paintings’ will travel from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York to the New Orleans Museum of Art, from 9 Sep 2022 – 1 Jan 2023. ‘The Woven Child’, previously on view at The Hayward Gallery, London, runs at the Gropius Bau, Berlin from 22 Jul – 23 Oct 2022.