Les veus de l'obsessió

Lousie Bourgeois, artist, sculptor and engraver

“Art exhausts me” – Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois (© Mathias Johansson)
Louise Bourgeois (© Mathias Johansson)

The work of Louise Bourgeois, who occupies a uniquely prominent place in the panorama of 20th century art, lies between Surrealism, Expressionism, psychoanalysis and feminism. The backbone of her output is a sort of emotional research, a compulsive way of narrating her past while asserting her female identity.

Bourgeois obsessively revisits the phobias and philias which marked her existence, among them the self-referencing female body, mutilation, a synthesis of emotions, paternal authority, the spider, fragility, music, and insomnia. In the company of one of her famous spiders, we will explore the attributes of work, protection, self-defence and fragility.

On our journey inside the life and the imaginary of this icon of modern art, we will take an intimate, human and educational approach to the world of an unrepeatable universal artist, a creator without masks or filters: Louise Bourgeois.

Louise, is art not an obsession?
No. In art one must avoid obsession. Because obsession is a state of being. It is an unfortunate state of being. If you are possessed by an obsession you cannot function. Some artists are successful, [....] some are derivate, [and] some are original. Ultimately to be an artist is a privilege; it is not a métier. You are born an artist. You can’t help it. You have no choice.

So is art a syndrome?
Being a creator is inevitable, it is the concurrence of a set of symptoms, a repetition. That shows a pathology.

What is your process of creation?
Conception and realization of art. There is not one without the other, but the conception comes first. I can be contradictory from one piece to the other. The realization of a work may take place two or three years after the conception.

Is there an emotion one can be possessed by and still make art?
Yes, compassion. Without compassion there is no work, there is no life, there is nothing. That is it. But at the same time art has nothing to do with love, it is rather the absence of love. To create is an act of liberation and every day this need for liberation comes back to me. In terms of making a statement in art, which do you prefer, to scream or to be silent? It depends on what you want. If you want attention, you scream.

Interview with the critic Paulo Herkenhoff, published in the monograph Louise Bourgeois. Phaidon, 2003.


From February 26 to April 15, 2021
Sala Miralls
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Spider, 1994.