She Always Forgot That the Earth Is Damp
Louise Bourgeois’ Subjectivity, City and Language
French artist Louise Bourgeois (1911- 2010) moved to New York, where she would reside the rest of her life, immediately after her marriage, in 1938. As a newcomer, a new wife, and a new mother, Bourgeois spent the first few years of her American life trying to balance domesticity and artistic practice. She resorted to producing prints, which afforded her certain flexibility compared to other medium. In 1947, Bourgeois created a small, printed booklet of illustrated parables, He disappeared into complete silence. This project, originally conceived as a way of inserting herself into the creative fabric of the city, proved to be a pivotal point for the artist. In it, Bourgeois presents a cast of anthropomorphised buildings, revealing a relationship between architecture and pathos. Bourgeois’ architectural characters have been well-studied. This essay, though, wants to emphasise the way architectural and personal affect are explored in Bourgeois’ texts for the booklet, and the way the artist juxtaposes visual and textual language.
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