louise bour­geois

Art world grande dame

Wallpaper - - Oc­to­ber - CS

The French-amer­i­can artist Louise Bour­geois may have been 96 years old when she joined Rei Kawakubo and Zaha Ha­did as our joint Guest Ed­i­tor in Oc­to­ber 2008, but she took on the role with the en­ergy of some­one half her age. Bour­geois worked with three long-time friends and col­lab­o­ra­tors – fash­ion designer turned artist Hel­mut Lang, ar­chi­tect Peter Zumthor and artist Roni Horn – to cu­rate a unique edit of their work.

Paris-born Bour­geois moved to New York in 1938 and achieved in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion for the dis­turb­ing sculp­tures and in­stal­la­tions that she be­gan pro­duc­ing in the 1960s. She was ex­plor­ing fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory when she told us, ‘I say things that I shouldn’t say and I do things that I shouldn’t do. There is vi­o­lence. I break things and then there is guilt and re­gret. The du­al­ity is in the work.’

Her fi­nal ma­jor work, a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Zumthor, was the Steil­ne­set Me­mo­rial at Vardø in Nor­way. Pre­viewed in our 2008 is­sue, it opened in 2011, a year af­ter she died, and the in­tense psy­chodrama of its in­te­rior – ded­i­cated to the many women burnt as witches here­abouts in the early 17th cen­tury – dou­bles as a fit­ting me­mo­rial to Bour­geois her­self.

01 Peter Zumthor on the coast in Vardø, Nor­way. ‘Zumthor and l have used earth, wa­ter, fire and air to cre­ate views of si­lence,’ said Bour­geois of their Steil­ne­set Me­mo­rial 02 Hel­mut Lang on the beach near his house in The Hamp­tons. ‘Hel­mut went to...

In­te­rior shots of Louise Bour­geois’ home in Chelsea, New York. It is now part of The Eas­ton Foun­da­tion, which pro­motes schol­ar­ship and aware­ness of Bour­geois’ life and art Pho­tographed in 2016 by Jean-françois Jaus­saud © The Eas­ton Foun­da­tion/ VAGA, NY

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