Louise Bourgeois Antagonism

by Alain Chivilò


Last week at Belvedere in Vienna for the exhibition “Louise Bourgeois Persistent Antagonism” on show at the Lower Belvedere. Started on the 2nd of September 2023, it ends Sunday, January 28, 2024.

«To be an artist, you need to exist in a world of silence»

Louise Bourgeois (Paris, 25/12/1911 – New York, 31/5/2010) is one of the most influential artists of the past century. In the Baroque galleries, the exhibition, curated by Johanna Hofer and Sabine Fellner, highlights an interesting, extensive retrospective showing little-known early paintings made in the years 1938 – 1949. A period from which her formal poetics were created and defined for the years subsequent. In summary, themes such as fear, fantasy and memory are linked in one of the most important exhibitions scheduled in Vienna.

«To express your emotions, you have to be very loose and receptive. The unconscious will come to you if you have that gift that artists have. I only know if I’m inspired by the results»

Around sixty paintings underline the evolution that the artist carried out, reaching celebrity in the 1990s. In summary, inside the rooms, Bourgeois’ paintings are connected to works such as Janus Fleuri, Arch of Hysteria, Cells, Fillette and graphic art. Outside, Belvedere’s Baroque Gardens, a monumental bronze spider sculpture is waiting visitors.

«The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and repairs it»

Bourgeois’ works, while remaining within a figurative theme, are the result of a personal way of understanding art, always remaining external to the artistic currents seen in her era. An underlying complexity becomes a leitmotif within her analysis-rich research.

«Space is something that you have to define. Otherwise, it is like anxiety, which is too vague. A fear is something specific. I like claustrophobic spaces, because at least then you know your limits»

Relationships and roles between men and women in a patriarchal background system, abandonment, love, hate, loss, death, life, fear, destruction and reconstruction, decomposing and recomposing all elements of Louise Bourgeois’s creative labyrinth.

«I don’t watch TV. I don’t use a computer, a fax or a cellphone»


©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo

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