Monday, July 07, 2008

louise bourgeois...

yesterday i went to guggenheim to see louise bourgeois' retrospective which was just as fantastic as i expected... the first time i saw her work was about 6 years ago in z├╝rich and it was a collection of her insomnia drawings which had lots of red... some were very abstract and some had figures like houses and female bodies and so on and some of them had texts only in french and english... i was just struck by her obsessiveness sipping through her drawings and taken into her world... however i didn't get to see her spiders when she was getting lots of attention shortly after... actually it might have been around the same time but i guess somehow i wasn't able to connect her delicate drawings and those majestic spiders... so i was really happy to be able to her works in chronological order and see how she has explored her themes and ideas in so many different materials and formations... i could feel so much of her struggle trying to figure out what it means to be a female from all of her pieces... that might not be the only theme behind all of her work but it definitely in the underlying motive for her work if i may say so... my favorites are her cells that she created these unique spaces mainly using old doors and windows and arranging them with all the objects from her memory... and these cells are somehow protected from the viewers although some of them it is possible to see the whole thing but you cannot stop feeling you are peeking through someone's intimate past and you don't dare to step into it... but cannot stop looking into it and feeling the emotion she put into it... it's utterly seductive and beautiful... it's her space and you are welcome but not really... then there are her houses that gave her so much joy and pain... the one called "choisy" has a beautiful replica of her house from france locked inside this fences and a guillotine hanging from above...
after that i had to go and watch this documentary on her "louise bourgeois: the spider, the mistress and the tangerine" and it added so much to the exhibit not i really have to go back to see her show again at guggenheim... in that documentary you see this fragile looking lady who was 91 when they filmed it, now she's 94 and still kicking it... there's one piece done this year in the shoe... lots of things she says are very abstract and even contradicting but one thing you see is that she is someone who had to create in order to exist... and whose life is her art itself... and as a female who had to figure out a way to stay strong and true to herself as an artist and a person without compromising... yet she still suffers from her memories that had hurt her deeply and still hasn't exorcised it completely... she's so human and so female... she's so strong and fragile at the same time... i'm sorry if i sound so vague keep saying by female but it's something you can feel it if you are also a female...

the other day i was at a gym and saw this teenager girl who was there with her boyfriend... she was trying to use this machine but couldn't figure out how to adjust it... i didn't want to pay attention to much to her but she was directly across the room from me and i couldn't stop seeing what she was doing... she looked a bit frustrated but i could feel that she was kind of hoping her boyfriend to come and help her with the machine but he didn't... so after a while i was compelled enough to go and help her out... and when i showed her how to adjust the machine, she gave me this look as if she was saying "i'm a helpless little thing and i'd rather be this way..."... i might have read too much into her look but i just felt that that was what she was saying and that pissed me off so much... why do girls get thrown into that role so early...? why is it expected...?

so after that incident, seeing louise bourgeois' struggle through decades which turned out to be amazing body of work gave me some kind of hope... not to say her work is greater because she's female but because she was able to fully embrace that she's female including all the struggles and heartache that came with it...

i guess as i grow older i am more aware of what it means to be female in this world... it's a long long process... and would i get an answer...? probably not but at least i'll have a subject i can think about and explore for the rest of my life...