“I have been to hell and back and let me tell you it was wonderful”—Louise Bourgeois
On the occasion of the 55th Venice Biennale, 14 years since Louise Bourgeois was awarded the Golden Lion for Life Achievement, the Berlin Film Society will be paying homage to the creator of ‘confessional art’ with two special screenings of the acclaimed documentary Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine, which gracefully explores the life and central works of this widely celebrated artist. The award-winning New York art critic, historian, and co-director of the film, Amei Wallach, will be in discussion with Berlin Film Society director Jack Howard after the film, followed by an audience Q&A.
Paris-born Louise Bourgeois moved to New York City in 1948, and became an esteemed member of its vibrant art scene. Involved in the surrealist, abstract expressionist, and avant-garde movements, Bourgeois enjoyed relative obscurity until 1982, when at the age of 71, she became the first woman to be honored with a major retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. In an interview with Artforum to correspond with MoMA’s opening, Bourgeois disclosed the autobiographical nature of her work; she revealed the painful memories of her childhood, including the trauma of her father’s infidelity. This public revelation of a very personal reality gave unique authorship to Bourgeois’s multifarious artwork.
Her acclaimed body of work boasts a masterful skill-set. She used varied techniques and materials (such as latex, marble, plaster, bronze, wood and fabric) to create sculptures and large-scale installations, as well as drawings and prints. Though her work is abstract, a study of its symbolism delivers insight into a complex personal story of self-doubt, loss, anger, and fear.
Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine is a cinematic exploration of the life and work of this icon of modern art. Bourgeois is a magnetic, energetic and emotionally raw presence on screen. She is forthright in communicating her perceptions and passions, and her artistic process is on full display in this comprehensive, dramatic documentary. Filmed with unparalleled access between 1993 and 2007, the movie is an intimate human portrait and an enlightening depiction of an artist’s world.
Bourgeois has been regarded as the originator of ‘confessional art’, in which art becomes the medium through which the depths of the artist’s private self are revealed. Confessional art encourages a personal analysis of the artist’s thoughts, experiences and emotions. For Bourgeois, there was no separating art and life: she harnessed complex emotional and psychological energy to create, revealing the inner workings of her psyche, and exorcising her fears, frustrations and insecurities.
Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine is not only a deft rendering of the art world. Bourgeois is a captivating character in her own right—certainly worth a closer look.
*Two special screenings of the acclaimed documentary ‘Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine’ at Soho House Berlin (Thurs 6th June) and The Wye (Fri 7th June), followed by a discussion and Q&A with the acclaimed New York art critic and filmmaker Amei Wallach*
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“Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and The Tangerine”
THURS 6th June – Soho House Berlin (Torstr. 1)
FRI 7th June – The Wye (Skalizter Str. 86)
19:00 || Drinks Reception
20:00 || Film Starts
21:30 || Discussion + Q&A with art historian and director, Amei Wallach
Learn more about Berlin Film Society: berlinfilmsociety.com
Co-director Amei Wallach has been an art critic, commentator and curator for nearly 40 years. She was for many years chief art critic for New York Newsday and her articles have appeared in such publications as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Art in America and ArtNews. She has written and contributed to 11 books and is currently finishing a documentary about Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.
Blog entry by Lydia Rodman in Berlin; Tuesday, June 4, 2013.