Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mother Spider

 This post is an homage to the wonderful Lousie Bourgeois, 
who died on May 31st at the age of 98.

Spider, 1994

Ode à ma Mère, 1995

"The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. 
My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. 
Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. 
We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. 
So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother."

Spider, 1997. Steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, rubber, silver, gold and bone. 
"Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied. 
Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern."

Maman, 1999, bronze and steel, outside Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum. Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbera.

"The spiders, which are portraits of my mother, are large because she was a monument to me. 
I want to walk around and be underneath her and feel her protection."

Crouching Spider, 2003, bronze.

"From the tapestries, I got this large sense of scale. I learned their stories, the use of symbolism and art history.
 The restoration of the tapestries functioned on a psychological level as well. By this I mean 
that things that have broken down or have been ripped apart can be joined and mended. 
My art is a form of restoration in terms of my feelings to myself and to others."

Spider, 2003, stainless steel and fabric. From Tate Modern's 2007-8 retrospective.

The rest of this week is going to be spidery, so arachnophobia sufferers beware!


  1. I cannot believe I hadn't encountered an explanation behind Louise Bourgeois' wonderful spiders before now. Thank you very much for including those quotes with this lovely post. She will be sorely missed, but thankfully also left a wealth of wonderful artwork behind.



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