always found something about Louise Bourgeois' work daunting, not
unreachable or unreadable, rather a psychological block within myself.
Something within does not want to relate to it and refuses to open
the doors for an internal dialogue. A fear that the eternal optimist
inside might be corrupted by allowing a rapport with her work.
wary frame of mind, I entered Hauser and Wirth where Louise Bourgeois'
new show resides. However, weary due to a heavy dose of antibiotics
my immune system was weak, the work found no resistance and was
free to penetrate my defences. Sublimation (2002), a series
of collages on sugar paper, seized me with its beauty and I was
overcome by its power for more than an hour without a break or release.
The 'book' Sublimation
is made into diptychs, on one side abstract shapes
of pastel colours, on the other the artist's own handwriting in
charcoal. It recounts an event she had witnessed; a story of deceit
and fear as a boy is overwhelmed by his parents' arguing and copes
with these tragic events by cleaning up with a broom what they had
broken. Ultimately though, the tale is of the artist's own reason
for being: she concludes the 'book' with 'I feel that if we are
able to sublimate...we should be thankful...the artist is blessed
with this power'. The drawings are of anthropomorphic shapes which
echo breasts and vaginas and mirror in their line the two sculptures
(both Untitled, 2004) hanging from the ceiling. These are
made out of shiny, bulky aluminium shapes. Rather then seem discordant
they complement the low 'tech' of the drawings and demand a dialogue
between the two. One cannot help but see in them a three dimensional
representation of the confusion and chaos felt by the two participants
of the event told in the drawings around them.
with the psychological overload of Sublimation, the show
carries on through to the underground level. Leaving Hauser and
Wirth main room opulence behind and walking down the stairs, I am
hit with a smell of ammonia and dampness. Images of thrillers and
horrors are conjured up and I wonder if perhaps I have gone the
wrong way. The feeling of trespassing and having stepped in a forbidden
area is further emphasised by the coming into view of what used
to be the vault. Co-ordinating my way around the heavily reinforced
door, another surprise awaits: a series of felt tip drawings entitled
Be Calme (October 1st-31st). They are in strong contrast
with the dirt and filth of the surrounding space by being encased
in white frames and placed within a dazzling white room. They sing
against the pristine walls with their saturated, concentrated colours.
I find myself retracing the obsessive lines, drawn into the world
that created them and wondering if they are somehow interconnected
with the work upstairs. Who is speaking now, the artist or the little
boy? Hypnotised by the hatching of verticals and horizontals marks,
I find it hard to tear myself away and I quietly thank the antibiotics
for having opened an entry point for Louise Bourgeois wonderful