Critics’ Picks

View of “Louise Bourgeois,” 2017.


Louise Bourgeois

Studio Trisorio
Riviera Di Chiaia 215
March 24–June 17

The world of Louise Bourgeois, made up of obsessions, subconscious paranoias, and imaginary monsters, is halfway between mythology and verisimilitude—an unstable equilibrium between emotionality and rationality. The tangle of ideas and spirit of this great artist is reflected in Studio Trisorio’s selection of her lavish yet minimal works. The show consists of an array of thirty-four drawings made between 1949 and 2009, exhibited in chronological order. Many of them dynamically clash, accentuating the sense that they give access to the most intimate labyrinths of the artist’s psyche. It is no accident that drawing—a spontaneous and automatic language, a tool of study and memory—reoccurs throughout the oeuvre of the artist, even though she defined herself as a sculptor. Particularly striking works include You Are My Favorite Monster, 2005, a series of four double-sided drawings where the artist’s hands, a recurrent motif, are superimposed upon written thoughts, and Untitled, 2006, a cobweb emphasized in embroidery on paper that, in addition to referring to Bourgeois’s iconic spider figures, also calls attention to her relationship with her mother, a tapestry weaver. Four sculptural works that, despite their appearance, are made of bronze inhabit a space near two pieces titled Lair, both 1962. One is suspended, while the other appears on a pedestal; both, even in the title, manifest a desire for shelter, a nostalgia for home. The incessant passage of time is central to the artist’s research, as seen in Has the day invaded the night or has the night invaded the day?, 1999, a drawing with a spiraling line. Whether abstract or representational, Bourgeois’s quintessentially autobiographical work draws on memory, on her childhood, transfiguring those sources into a universe both fragile and potent where sexuality, femininity and family relationships continually surface.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.