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Related publication: Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso: Anatomies of Desire
15 Jun 2019

Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso: Anatomies of Desire

Exhibition curator Marie-Laure Bernadac and Jerry Gorovoy of The Easton Foundation introduce ‘Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso: Anatomies of Desire’ at Hauser & Wirth Zürich. This presentation is the first time that Picasso has been exhibited in a dual dialogue with a female sculptor and brings together over 90 works including paintings, sculptures and works on paper from important public institutions and private collections including the Fondation Beyeler (Riehen/Basel), Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas), and Kunstmuseum Den Haag (The Hague).

Louise Bourgeois and Pablo Picasso never met. They belonged to different generations, Picasso being born in the late nineteenth century (1881–1973), and Bourgeois in the early twentieth century (1911–2010). This exhibition takes ‘the couple’ as its guiding theme, a de facto marriage of these two artists yet also an allusion to subjects crucial to them: man and woman, sexuality, pregnancy, and maternity. While Bourgeois and Picasso embody different conceptions of the artist-type, and do not have a formal affinity or similar sensibility, they share an interest in the topic of sexuality. What Bourgeois said of herself could equally apply to Picasso: ‘…my centre is my sexuality. Everything lies there. It is the fixed point.’

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Installation view, ‘Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso. Anatomies of Desire’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, 2019 © The Easton Foundation / Succession Picasso / 2019, ProLitteris, Zurich

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Installation view, ‘Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso. Anatomies of Desire’, Hauser & Wirth Zürich, 2019 © The Easton Foundation / Succession Picasso / 2019, ProLitteris, Zurich

The presentation displays intentional pairings of works, ‘by placing these artists together for comparative analysis, this exhibition sheds new light on their oeuvres and rids us of the clichés of the virile painter armed with a phallic brush and the sculptress armed with a knife,’ explains Marie-Laure Bernadac. The original inspiration for the pairing came from an exhibition organized by the Beyeler Foundation in 2011, curated by Ulf Küster, which presented works by Bourgeois in dialogue with works by modern masters from the Beyeler collection confirming the artist’s position as one of the key bridges between modern and contemporary art.

‘Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso: Anatomies of Desire’ is on view at Hauser & Wirth Zürich from 9 June – 14 September 2019. Marie-Laure Bernadac is former curator at the Louvre, Musée Picasso in Paris, and Centre Pompidou. Jerry Gorovoy is President of Louise Bourgeois’s Foundation, The Easton Foundation.

A new publication by Hauser & Wirth Publishers, entitled ‘Louise Bourgeois & Pablo Picasso: Anatomies of Desire’, coincides with the exhibition and further develops the thought-provoking discourse on these artists’ work, with newly commissioned texts by exhibition curator Marie-Laure Bernadac, art historian and curator Émilie Bouvard, Jerry Gorovoy, Fondation Beyeler curator Ulf Küster, psychoanalyst and writer Gérard Wajcman, and art historian Diana Widmaier Picasso.

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