Feature, 09.04.2018

Louise Bourgeois: The Empty House
at Schinkel Pavillon
Apr 21 – Jul 29, 2018

Louise
Louise Bourgeois, Untitled, 2010. © The Easton Foundation/VG Bild-Kunst, Photo: Christopher Burke / Peaux de Lapins, Chiffons Ferrailles à Vendre, 2006. © The Easton Foundation/VG Bild-Kunst, Photo: Christopher Burke

Certain works of art are important historically but no longer offer us experiential quality. Louise Bourgeois, whose life spanned nearly the entire 20th century, used art as a way of understanding herself, inventing a distinctive visual world containing raw self-expression and emotion. Much like the maze-like structures of her famous Cells, which she invoked as visual expressions of memory, her mind was a complex puzzle. Schinkel Pavillon invites us to enter the last two decades of her life, through focussed selection of works in diverse media featuring the sack form. They first appeared in her writings and later sculptures, as empty and hollow structures, which she often confined with other personal objects inside the intensely psychological space of Cells. Spanning the entire octagonal room of Schinkel Pavillon the visitors encounter Peaux des lapins, chiffons ferrailles à vendre (2006), one of her largest Cells. Where surrealists focused on the more fantastic elements of the subconscious, Bourgeois played with more subtle ideas of the uncanny. Like other remarkable sculptures she created using fabrics, the sacks are made of delicate chiffon in various tones of pink, pushing the borders between seduction and repulsion. Inside her highly symbolic microcosm their incomplete anthropomorphic form suggests a dysfunctional architectural unit, an empty house, or an infertile woman’s body.