Christiane Heuwinkel > Press Release: Louise Bourgeois : La Famille : Kunsthalle Bielefeld

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Louise Bourgeois : La Famille : Kunsthalle Bielefeld

Louise Bourgeois. La famille

Kunsthalle Bielefeld, March 12 – June 5, 2006

Press Preview: March 12, 11:30 a. m.

Opening: March 9, 11:30 a. m.

In a broad retrospective, the Kunsthalle Bielefeld presents 120 important works by this great artist as an exploration of the family. Twenty paintings, more than sixty drawings, 35 sculptures, and 5 embroideries dated from 1936 to 2005 will be shown. The catalogue is dedicated to a penetrating investigation of the theme.

The fear of being born into the world not as a boy, but as an unwanted girl; the fear of not being needed; the fear of becoming a mere pawn in the conflicted lives of one’s parents; and finally the fear of failing as a wife, mother, and artist: Louise Bourgeois, born in 1911 in Paris, first studied mathematics and geometry at the Sorbonne, but later attended several art academies and schools in Paris, and took art history at the Ecole du Louvre. She left her homeland in 1938 without a degree and went to New York in order to accompany her husband, Robert Goldwater, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1940 the couple adopted their first son, Michel, and later, in 1941 Bourgeois herself gave birth to two other sons, Jean-Louis and Alain.

Her artistic oeuvre deals almost exclusively with the fear of not being able to live up to her role. Most of her early works consisted of paintings on the theme of family, a considerable number of which will be shown for the first time in Bielefeld. There is the woman as body without any arms, wearing a close-fitting house on her head. Her visual space is narrow and high, so that she cannot sit down and rest.

When Bourgeois first began sculpting, the children and all the other family members were portrayed as stakes fatefully stuck in the ground. The bodies have windows and openings, and occasionally they carry small packages. These ”Personnages,” as she called them, seem mute and paralyzed. In 1968 she created ”Fillette,” a Latex penis shape pierced with a metal wire and hung from the ceiling. With ”Destruction of the Father,” an altar covered in fabric and Latex, made a year after the death of her husband, she pursued the paternal element in her life in a theatrical way. Later, she made the ”Cells,” large metallic spaces containing representations of her children.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Kunststiftung NRW und the Kulturstiftung Pro Bielefeld.

For more information:

Christiane Heuwinkel

Press Office

Kunsthalle Bielefeld

Artur-Ladebeck-Str. 5

33602 Bielefeld