1911 - 2010
Louise Bourgeois was a French-American artist. Through large scale installations, sculptures, as well as painting and print-making, her work was heavily influenced by traumatic psychological events from her childhood, particularly her father's infidelity.
Bourgeois transformed her experiences into a highly personal visual language through the use of mythological and archetypal imagery, adopting objects such as spirals, spiders, cages, medical tools, and sewn appendages to symbolize the feminine psyche, beauty, and psychological pain.
Through the use of abstract form and a wide variety of media, Bourgeois dealt with notions of universal balance, family, sexuality and the body, playfully juxtaposing materials conventionally considered male or female.
STEILNESET MEMORIAL, NORWAY, 2011.
The project, which was Bourgeois' last major work, was designed in collaboration with Swiss Architect Peter Zumthor. It is located in Vardø, Norway, commemorating the trial and execution of 91 people for witchcraft, in 1621.
The Memorial comprises two separate buildings: a 410-foot-long wooden structure framing a fabric cocoon that contains Peter Zumthor's memorial and a square smoked glass room, that contains the work of Bourgeois.
The building that houses Bourgeois' installation stands in stark contrast to its companion. Its square structure is fabricated from weathering steel and 17 panes of tinted glass, forming walls that stop short of the ceiling and floor. Inside, Bourgeois has set a metal chair with flames projecting through its seat, which is reflected in seven oval mirrors placed on metal columns in a ring around the fiery seat, like judges circling the condemned.
The Steilneset Memorial does not give the visitor peace. It stirs fear and gives an insight into the darkest sides of human nature.
LOUISE JOSÉPHINE BOURGEOIS