Art@Site Louise Bourgeois Mamam

Louise Bourgeois



Roppongi Hills
A spider and fear
A spider is a very useful animal: it eats the annoying flies in your room, makes a wonderful web, it makes no noise. It’s also a logical topic for an artwork: it’s paws are long but also elegant. An average model would do a murder for it.
Spider by Louise Josephine Bourgeois seems to tell a completely different story. The work is perhaps five times larger than us and thus can overwhelm us. The dented paws makes us think about aging and can fear us. And yes, I think: this is where this artwork is about.
Not because of an animal. An average citizen won’t meet a dangerous spider.
No, fear of a human being.
What people can say and do to each other, can be very fearing and painful.
By Theo,

Een spin en angst
Een spin is een uitermate nuttig dier: het eet de irritante vliegen op in je kamer, maakt een prachtig web, het maakt geen lawaai. Ook een logisch onderwerp voor een kunstwerk: de poten zijn lang en toch elegant. Een gemiddeld model zou er een moord voor doen.
Spider van Louise Josephine Bourgeois lijkt een geheel ander verhaal te vertellen. Het werk is misschien wel vijf keer groter dan onszelf en daarmee kan het ons overweldigen. De gedeukte benen doen ons denken aan ouderdom en kan ons angstig maken. En jah hier gaat dit kunstwerk over volgens mij.
Niet voor een dier. Een gemiddelde burger ontmoet geen gevaarlijke spin.
Nee, angst voor een mens.
Wat mensen elkaar kunnen zeggen en aandoen, kan angstig maken en kan heel pijnlijk zijn.
By Theo,
The stuff of nightmares (for some) the Maman Spider Sculpture by Louise Bourgeois is a famous landmark in the busy city. Standing at a terrifying 30ft tall and 33ft wide, it is not the place to arrange to meet an arachnophobe (unless you really don’t like them). If you stand below the creature you can look up to see a cluster of 26 marble eggs held within an abdomen and thorax made of ribbed bronze. The Roppongi sculpture is one of 6 bronze castings which followed the original 1999 steel creation which was displayed in the Tate Modern, London.
As terrifying as it may seem to some, the statue reflects feelings of nurture, protection, weaving and spinning and is an ode to the artist’s mother who was a weaver by trade and died when Bourgeois was 21. The five matching statues can be found in Qatar the USA, South Korea, Spain and Canada.
Not to be confused with Louise Bourgeois' similar sculptures: Spider or Crouching Spider
Maman (1999) is a bronze, stainless steel, and marble sculpture by the artist Louise Bourgeois. The sculpture, which depicts a spider, is among the world's largest, measuring over 30 ft high and over 33 ft wide (927 x 891 x 1024 cm). It includes a sac containing 32 marble eggs and its abdomen and thorax are made of ribbed bronze.
The title is the familiar French word for Mother (akin to Mummy). The sculpture was created in 1999 by Bourgeois as a part of her inaugural commission of The Unilever Series (2000), in the Turbine Hall at London's Tate Modern. This original was created in steel, with an edition of six subsequent castings in bronze.
The sculpture picks up the theme of the arachnid that Bourgeois had first contemplated in a small ink and charcoal drawing in 1947, continuing with her 1996 sculpture Spider. It alludes to the strength of Bourgeois' mother, with metaphors of spinning, weaving, nurture and protection. Her mother Josephine was a woman who repaired tapestries in her father's textile restoration workshop in Paris. When Bourgeois was twenty-one, she lost her mother to an unknown illness. A few days after her mother's passing, in front of her father (who did not seem to take his daughter's despair seriously), Louise threw herself into the Bièvre River; he swam to her rescue.
"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." (Louise Bourgeois)
Some of these editions in permanent collections often tour on exhibit:
Tate Modern, UK – The permanent acquisition of this sculpture in 2008 is considered one of the Tate Modern's historical moments. Maman was first exhibited in the turbine hall and later displayed outside the gallery in 2000. It was received with mixed reactions of amazement and amusement. The sculpture owned by the Tate Modern is the only one made from stainless steel.
National Gallery of Canada, Canada – The National Gallery of Canada acquired the sculpture in 2005 for 3.2 million dollars. At that time, the price was deemed excessive by some critics, as it took around a third of the annual budget of the gallery.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain.
Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan – On display at the base of Mori Tower, outside the museum.
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, South Korea.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, USA.
Qatar National Convention Center, Doha, Qatar.
Supported on eight slender, sinewy legs, the body of the spider is suspended above the ground, allowing the viewer to walk freely underneath it. Each ribbed leg is made of two pieces of steel and ends in a sharp-tipped point. Weighty with the threat of peril, it’s as if the spider will run away at any moment and take its carefully balanced wire-meshed sac of seventeen white and grey marble eggs along with it. At once anxiety inducing and yet agile, nurturing and strong, the title Maman translates as ‘Mummy’ in French and amplifies the dynamic contradictions at the heart of the sculpture.
In a text entitled Ode à ma mere or ‘Ode to My Mother’ published in 1995, Bourgeois first introduces the spider as a maternal figure – the artist’s mother:
The friend (the spider – why the spider?) because my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider. She could also defend herself, and me, by refusing to answer ‘stupid’, inquisitive, embarrassing, personal questions.
Spiders are usually recognised to evoke of fear, terror and disgust and Bourgeois saw making art as a way to fight fear. As Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day take place this week, perhaps we can look to Maman as a mammoth, matt-black beacon of the essential strength, beauty, and restorative power pervaded by your best friend, mother and the women who surround you.

Compared with other artworks
Spider by Louise Josephine Bourgeois derives much of its impact by the format. This format, combined with the effective use of the theme "fear" makes it a masterpiece.

This miracle of the artwork David by Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Venice, picture 1, more information) retains its beauty, power and magic in every format it would have been implemented.

American cities such as Los Angeles, can cope well with large format artworks. Memory Reflection by Lita Albuquergue (Los Angeles, picture 2, more information) first appears to be a little star, than becomes a thin line that gradually turns into a fountain and a gold sphere that seems to rise to the sky.

Marwari Horse at Water by Nic Fiddian-Green (London, picture 3, more information) is a masterpiece that is realistic yet is poetic and aesthetic. It remains subtle even with it's large size. With this piece, the lawn is transformed into a poetic space. It will be wonderful to be together in the vicinity of this beauty.

This artwork Torri di Luciana by Mauro Staccioli (Florence, picture 4, more information) seems to be able to carry the entire area and be able to place this on the earth. In a smaller size, the effect would be partially lost.
By Theo,