Hamburger Kunsthalle presents Louise Bourgeois. Passage dangereux

The Hamburger Kunsthalle presents Louise Bourgeois. Passage dangereux, an exhibition on view 10 February–17 June 2012.

Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) was one of the most important and influential artists of our time. In celebration of the centenary of her birth, the Hamburger Kunsthalle is presenting sculptures, installations, etchings, tapestries and textile works from the last fifteen years of the artist’s life. Several of the works are being exhibited in Germany for the first time ever.

Standing tall on the platform in front of the museum, a nine-metre-high sculpture of a spider greets visitors and passers-by. Attractive and menacing at the same time, this monumental piece made of bronze, steel and marble provides a key to understanding Louise Bourgeois’s art. As the title suggests, “Maman” is a tribute to the artist’s mother, who worked as a tapestry restorer and was therefore, like a spider, continually engaged in repairing web-like textures. The spider is also a powerful symbol of the eternal renewal of life. Employing a highly original and fascinating visual language, Louise Bourgeois addressed fundamental themes of human existence: fear, abandonment, memory, sexuality, love, and death.

Bourgeois’ unique flair for handling materials can be observed throughout the exhibition. The works on show include her so-called “Cells”—cage-like enclosures filled with objects and small sculptures—such as “Passage dangereux” (Dangerous Passage, 1997), the largest and most spectacular piece in this series of installations. The large-format etching “À l’infini” (Towards Infinity, 2008) from the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, is a powerful reflection on time and the passage of life. In the textile works from Bourgeois’ remarkably creative final years, the shapes and motifs she used throughout her life, such as spirals and spider webs, reappear in colourful variations. Here, the single thread—a recurring and central theme in Bourgeois’ oeuvre—takes on a life of its own, creating independent patterns and beautiful abstract formations.

Curator of the exhibition: Brigitte Koelle

20095 Hamburg

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