Louise Bourgeois’ Spiders

“My work has always been a recording of my emotions. It’s not a concept that I’m after, but an emotion that I want to keep or destroy. All of my sculptures have the sense of vulnerability and fragility. Sexuality is one theme tied to those two states of being.” –Bourgeois, 2006 interview

Bourgeois, 97, still lives and works in New York City. Her spider, shown above, was there on my visit to Dia:Beacon. It fuses metal plates together in a way that suggests contained energy and torque. Balancing that strength, the heavy body rests on pins that end in sharp points. It’s a fragile stasis. In Dia’s small space, I was torn by the desire to examine it and nervousness that the spider would jump!

Despite the delicacy of the legs, these spiders seem less vulnerable than threatening. Spiders, such as the ones pictured above, have been a part of her work for many years. Even placed in an outdoor setting, they look as natural and harmless as Godzilla. They are fascinating works that draw you in even as they unnerve you.

Does anyone know more about why Bourgeois uses this spider motif?

9 thoughts on “Louise Bourgeois’ Spiders

  1. I like your reaction to the Bourgeois spider at Dia:Beacon (isn’t a great place?)…I think it was wise of the curator to put it in a clautrophobic space.

  2. Pingback: Teresa Kahres on Jewelry and the Business Behind it | The Goods | The Official Blog of UncommonGoods

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