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MORTAL ELEMENTS

Like ancient sites abandoned for centuries, Louise Bourgeois’ sculptures remind me of the basic fact of impermanence, yet they can feel as familiar as a recurring dream suddenly recollected. In her installations, psychological relationships among objects are as important as formal ones: this work is sculpture but it is about memory, and the fragility and isolation of the individual—how even a heart of stone is as fragile as a bubble of glass, at the core nothing more than air and dust. Through her use of materials—found objects along with made sculptural elements—Bourgeois creates physical order out of emotional disorder. This is art, not as therapy, but as a transformation of emotion into physical form.

In the conversation that follows, conducted on March 18 at her New York studio, Bourgeois discusses both the work that will be unveiled at the Venice Biennale this summer and the 1992

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