Rijksmuseum Focuses on Outdoor Sculptures of Bourgeois

by Andy SmithPosted on

With “Louise Bourgeois in the Rijksmuseum Gardens,” the Amsterdam museum offers the first major exhibition to focus solely on the beloved artist’s outdoor sculptures. More than half a century is represented in these works, which include her famed, enormous spiders and other unsettling metal forms. Works include “The Blind Leading the Blind” and “Crouching Spider,” both existing on opposite ends of her career.

The Rijksmuseum offers some insight into these specific works in the gardens: “It is rare that an artist’s oeuvre so closely reflects his or her life that it seems to directly embody specific events and feelings. The twelve Louise Bourgeois sculptures, on display in the Rijksmuseum gardens from this spring, will form an intimate journal of recurring themes in the life and work of the artist. Several of the works relate to Bourgeois’s childhood, for example. The monumental works Spider (1996), Spider Couple (2003) and Crouching Spider (2003) can be seen as homages to her protective mother, a weaver. The high-gloss aluminium sculptures of Untitled (2004), hanging from the branches of the great wingnut tree, refer to her father’s habit of storing chairs by hanging them on roof beams in the attic of their home. Motherhood and Bourgeois’s own youth are recurring themes in the artist’s work, as are fear, friendship, materiality and the body.”

All exterior photos: Antoine van Kaam © The Easton Foundation/Pictoright, Amsterdam

Peter Bellamy © The Easton Foundation/Pictoright, Amsterdam

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