Sunday, February 17, 2008

0011 Homework Task - Louise Bourgeois, Woven Child

The Woven Child, Louise Bourgeois, 2002

Artist, Louise Bourgeois examples a particular alchemical path she passed.

Louise Bourgeois depicts an archetypal image of a mother and a child in The Woven Child. In the work, the figure of a newborn, held in loosely stitched translucent blue fabric netting, is cradled comfortably on its mother’s stomach. The netting protects the child from the outside world and links it to its mother. Stiffly lying on its back naked, the armless, headless and legless female torso fashioned from white patches roughly stitched together, is ready to feed her foetus with her full prominent nipples. Such sculpture is laid against a very coldly dark, solid background.

Bourgeois reinterprets the archetypal relationship between a mother and child from a unique perspective in her recent sculpture, The Woven Child. Not expressing the mother and the infant as distinctively characterised individuals, but rather, conveying them as universal symbols, Bourgeois focuses on the intangible bonding between the two. With purposeful use of uninteresting lifeless colours for the flesh, stiff position for the torso and faceless infant and mother, the artist was able to achieve her collectiveness in her subjects. Although the womb connects the baby and the mother, the infant seems to be a separated one whole entity. The mother is also emotionless and limbless, unable to kiss or hold her newborn, only being the basis for the baby’s growth. This suggests that from a physical perspective, there is no strong personal bonding between the newborn and the mother. However, as she consciously chose to construct the figures out of fabric, a fragile material not typically used for sculpture, from a intangible perspective, the artist engages a human associations such as warmth, intimacy and vulnerability between the infant and the mother.

In her collective work, Bourgeois explores the psychological and emotional effects of human relations, the intimacies as well as the anxieties. Bourgeois ahs said that she is ‘interested in the portraiture of a relationship… the effect people have on one another.’

In realising (to make real) a concept successfully into a form of tangible aesthetic, Bourgeois passed her process of alchemy in the form of art-making.

Other works by Louise Bourgeois:

The Woven Child, Louise Bourgeois, 2002

Spider, Louise Bourgeois, 2003

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