Self Imposed Cell

Jerry Gorovoy, Louise Bourgeois’ personal assistant for 30 years, stated: “She had psychological issues, of course, a lot of anxiety, awe, fears, depressions, and a great remorse for not being a good mother… but she knew that art helped her survive, all her creative process, not only the cells, were a therapy for her.”

Louise Bourgeois once said that “art is a guarantee of sanity.” These are words that explain her strong desire to pour her mind in art as a way to heal her past and inner pains. Even though she denounced Freud and his psychoanalytical theories, it’s clear that she was a person who explored and materialized her fears.

I drew Louise Bourgeois from the deck of Art Oracle Cards. Like Bourgeois, I found myself limited by my mother’s possessiveness. Likewise, I know that the creative process and escaping into an interior world has quite literally saved my sanity. Since I was very young I have spent a lot of time alone and I am finding that Bourgeois’ work on ‘Cells’ is resonating for me.

Bourgeois began to make her self-enclosed structures known as Cells in 1989 and they became an important part of her output for many years. In these works she explores themes of being trapped, anguish and fear. The word ‘cell’ can refer to both an enclosed room, as in a prison, as well as the most basic elements of plant or animal life, as in cells in the body.

This week, within my journal, I am spending time thinking about a room/space I spend a lot of time in and the ways in which I have confined myself to a cell. I may also give some thought to designing a mock-up of an alternative cell I would be happy to confine myself to, consider found objects that I would surround myself with.

Stand on Shoulders of Art Giants

Art Oracles by Katya Tylevich and illustrated by Mikkel Sommer, is the first pack of oracle cards to offer daily mantras from some of the world’s greatest artists. Be guided and inspired by Henri Matisse, Grayson Perry, Gilbert & George, Yves Klein and many more with this hilarious creative set.

In our journal writing sessions, we are being guided and inspired by artists. Each week we draw out a card and consider the insights into how to live, work and gain inspiration. Everyone was surprised by the diversity of artists represented in this deck of cards and were eager to learn about someone who emerged who they had not heard of. The mantras on the cards we draw prompt very lively discussion.

Louise Bourgeois 1982, printed 1991 Robert Mapplethorpe 1946-1989 ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d’Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/AR00215

The first card I drew was Louise Bourgeois and there is no doubt that I can learn from her. Louise Joséphine Bourgeois (25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010) was a French-American artist. Although she is best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker. She explored a variety of themes over the course of her long career including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the unconscious. These themes connect to events from her childhood which she considered to be a therapeutic process. Although Bourgeois exhibited with the Abstract Expressionists and her work has much in common with Surrealism and Feminist art, she was not formally affiliated with a particular artistic movement.

In the class, after reading the advice about life, work and inspiration we applied the technique of freewriting and I found myself, contemplating what Bourgeois would make of me if we were to meet. If this first session is any indication there is no doubt that the artists will stimulate our thinking about how we live and work as creatives.

Maman 1999 Louise Bourgeois 1911-2010 Presented by the artist 2008

On my first foray on the internet, I found an extensive biography on the TATE website.  Subsequently, I put ‘Louise Bourgeois Tate‘ into the search engine and found some wonderful stimuli that I might explore in my journal this week. For example, on the children’s site, they write about spiders as artists and suggest writing a spider poem. Another great suggestion was to design a cell or cage and decide what to put in it, to think about how you would feel about going inside it.

This week I will research more about Bourgeois and I am looking forward to the feedback on the artists that members of the class drew from this wonderfully creative set of cards.