Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Maman, 1999
Louise Bourgeois
Steel, marble
9271 x 8915 x 10236 mm
Tate Modern, London (and other institutions, it was eventually cast in a series of 6)

I was able to use some of my own pictures (2004) for today's work (not the greatest, but I like the one with me in it :) Mom took it so the top of the spider is cut off ;). Maman (even has its own Wikipedia page) was originally commissioned as part of the Unilever Series for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall (where you see it in the picture)

Spiders are common in Bourgeois's work and allude to spinning, weaving, nurturing and protection (her mother was a weaver) despite their inherent creepy nature as well. Bourgeois has said, “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. “ (Tate Press Release, 2008) This is the largest of her spiders (I've seen a few) and it commands a space even as large as Turbine Hall.

If you ever seen the work of Bourgeois you know how intimate yet unnerving it can be. Her biography is known to invoke the subjects of her work, as she often discusses it, and while fascinating, it also is curious to approach the work without as much biographical baggage, you may be inclined to spend some more time with it, and her titles often give you a starting point for her themes of femininity, isolation and and sexuality. At 96, Bourgeouis is still working and has already left a legacy of art which reaches indefinitely into the future.

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