The last ten years have brought Louise Bourgeois international recognition as a truly remarkable artist. Born in Paris in 1911, the majority of her creative life spent in the United States, Bourgeois has enjoyed recent acclaim through a number of highly successful traveling exhibitions and retrospectives. This definitive study brings together her works, from early sketches and paintings to her most recent sculptures and installations with which she has astonished the art world. As this book demonstrates, Bourgeois’s work is entirely autobiographical: for her, art and life are inseparable, the lives of her works and her own personal history always closely imbricated. This transfer of emotions into inert matter performs a kind of exorcism for Bourgeois – who believes in the magic properties of art – and lends her sculptures an intensity which is sometimes alien but always highly personal. Bourgeois’s place in the history of modern sculpture, which locates her between Brancusi and Giacometti, has made her into a quasi-mythical point of reference for a whole generation of contemporary artists and sculptors. This profound influence derives from her interest in the corporeal – the body whole and in parts – the oppositions of masculine and feminine, and from her insistence on the importance of the subjectivity of the artist. This comprehensive study, while chronological in approach, brings together Bourgeois’s work by focusing on certain recurrent themes: the house, childhood, the past, maternity and sexuality. Richly illustrated with the artist’s work, documentary photographs of her childhood and career; and using Bourgeois’s own words from articles, films and new interview material, thisbook will quickly establish itself as the defining work on a fascinating artist.
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