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Louise Bourgeois


Louise Bourgeois, 2003, Photo: © Nanda Lanfranco


There probably is no contemporary artist who so relentlessly expresses their emotions through their artistic work quite like Louise Bourgeois. Thoughts which cannot be adequately expressed by words are transferred into a concrete/physical form so that the outside world can share in Bourgeois’ inner life. Her principal themes are the fundamental existential questions we ask ourselves concerning birth and death, love and hate, the human body and sexuality. Therefore, her works are instantly relatable whilst remaining mysterious through their complexity. She often uses symbols and metaphors whose core meaning seems straightforward. However, at the same time, she leaves the observer completely in the dark with no way of knowing whether his or her interpretations really lead to an in depth understanding of the work. The variety of applied techniques strengthens the experimental aspect of Bourgeois' work. Her practise is not only focused on sculpture but also includes drawing, painting and printmaking.


Louise Bourgeois was born in 1911 in Paris. Her works were first widely recognised in the US, especially in New York, where she lived from 1938 onwards. In 1982, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, showed the first retrospective of her work, which led to further exhibitions throughout the US and, starting in 1989, also in Europe. She became particularly well-known internationally following her participation in the documenta 9 in Kassel, Germany, in 1992 and the 1993 Venice Biennale. Today, she is one of the most renowned female artists in the world. Numerous museums have honoured her with important solo exhibitions. Louise Bourgeois died in New York in 2010.

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