21 January 2024

Threebies no.2

As I write this I've just listened to Stravinsky Firebird Suite.  It seems perfect for Kandinsky, of much the same era and presumably sensibilities.  The second of the threebies was also at the Art Gallery of NSW, dated a little later but still encountering world wars and relocations.  This was Louis Bourgeois (1911-2010) of the giant spiders and the NGA wooden comb.  That's about all i knew and she was similarly exploratory although seemingly much less stable.  LB was of Paris, affected by a loving mother and intrusive father, she explored issues of feminist and personal interest with reference to her own experience.  At least as I saw it.  The spiders were mammoth metal constructions that you could walk through, often protecting a space, thus maternal (although threatening in one incarnation).  She worked in a range of media, plenty of sculpture in timber, metals, wool and fabrics, glass, marble, but also written words and drawings, often the two together.  She moved with a husband to NYC and he died suddenly, she had three children and we explore motherhood with her.  Megan and I wondered that this role seemed limited to child bearing rather than rearing, but our psychotherapist friend Karen suggested she was exploring motherhood rather than being a mother (did I get that right, Karen?).  Karen was also intrigued and professionally impressed by a work on sublimation which comprised words (and a video of her speaking these words) and accompanying drawings.  The exhibition was in the new glassed modernist building (the day)  and finished in the subterranean Tank below (the night), once a fuel tank for naval ships during the war, now a brooding, dark, tall, columned space of dust and odours.  This day's outing does seem a challenging one of modernism and perhaps instability at least from LB.  But intriguing.

Has the day invaded the night or has the night invaded the day? was a retrospective of the work of Louise Bourgeois at the Art Gallery of NSW with assistance from the Easton Foundation of NY and various private and public collectors.

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