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Art Dept: Louise Bourgeois im Haus der Kunst

Art Dept: Louise Bourgeois at the House of Art

" Space does not exist at all, it is only a metaphor for the structures of our existence " - Louise Bourgeois

She lived in Brooklyn before New York City became a hipster mecca and a month's rent there became unaffordable. Louise Joséphine Bourgeois, born in Paris in 1911, had one thing above all: her very own vision of life and art. She followed her own drummer, the Americans would say about the classically trained sculptor from a middle-class family, who gained world fame and respect with her sculptures and installations in the New World and from there also on the international stage: She didn’t let anyone dictate anything to her .

She was the first woman to combine several works into spaces that turn the visitor into a discoverer and voyeur. She remained true to herself and her point of view until her death in Chelsea in 2010: When she had to vacate her studio in Brooklyn in 2008 – Bourgeois had been living in the Big Apple for 70 years at that time – she promptly integrated its spiral staircase into one of her last so-called Cells titled "The Last Climb".

A large cross-section of her unique, bizarre, disturbing work can be seen in the exhibition "Louise Bourgeois - Structures of Being: The Cells" in Munich's Haus der Kunst until August 2nd.

Art Dept: Louise Bourgeois at the House of Art

She never forgives and never forgets, Louise Bourgeois once described the essence of her work. According to her own statement, the nucleus of this creatively lived maxim was the tense relationship with her father, who cared little for her and let the girl feel his antipathy at every opportunity. "When a boy is born, the family is happy. When a girl is born, you accept it, you tolerate the fact," the artist said in an interview.

Her escape even then: art. At the dining table, she formed the first small objects out of bread, which were supposed to symbolize her father, and which she then destroyed or simply ate. Her oeuvre includes many works on the subject of the destruction of the father; the spider, which also appears frequently, represents her mother, who was a weaver by trade. Louise had such a close relationship with her that after her death she tried to take her own life. The coming to terms with her childhood and youth in her art also continued in New York, where she emigrated from Paris with her husband Robert Goldwater in 1938. The family was soon supplemented by the adoptive son Michel and their own children Jean-Louis and Alain.

The work of Louise Bourgeois gets under your skin. Her use of the color red is particularly fascinating – whatever context she uses this color in, you can feel life, blood and femininity ” – Andrea Karg

The exhibition features sculptures, drawings and of course the Cells, a series of architectural spaces that open up a whole spectrum of feelings and were created over a period of more than 20 years. Each cell is like its own microcosm: a shell that separates the inner world from the outside world. In it, Bourgeois composes theater-like scenarios with found objects, clothing or fabrics, furniture and striking sculptures. The entire work revolves around the desire to remember and forget at the same time. “You have to tell your story and then forget it. Forget and forgive. That frees you,” Louise Bourgeois once outlined her intention.

Our conclusion: Never before have so many pieces of her work been shown in one place. Do not miss!

Art Dept: Louise Bourgeois at the House of Art

Photos: Peter Bellamy and Frédéric Delpech for The Easton Foundation/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015