Monday, August 9, 2010

Ode â l’Oubli. Textile Books of the late Louise Bourgeois (NYT article)

I am always interested in connecting the textile world to the larger world of Art. And I've been thinking quite a bit about Louise lately as I write about contemporary art for my upcoming BORO book. If you have a moment, I think it's worth your time to read both the NY Times Art & Design article (link below) and a background piece by Lark Crafts on Louise Bourgeois' textile books.
-- Yoshiko

Louise Bourgeois, the famous French-born American artist, passed away this year in late May at the age of 98. Known most for her abstract, psychologically charged sculptures in bronze, marble, resin, and wood, she also worked extensively in fabric during her later years. Her relationship with her mother, a weaver, deeply influenced her work (to wit: her bronze spider sculptures). For an artist whose primary sources of inspiration were childhood memories, this return to textiles seems fitting as much of her youth was spent in the family’s tapestry restoration business.

One of these textile works of art (and the word syntax is chosen deliberately - foremost a work of art, one that happens to be made of textiles) is "Ode â l'Oubli" (2004), or "Ode to Forgetfulness," described as an "extraordinary and poignant object" in an excellent review by the New York Times. "Ode â l'Oubli" is a tactile diary composed of 36 fabric-on-fabric pages -- pieces snipped from Louise's clothes, some kept away in a storage closet, some dating as far back as 1920s. She cut, pinned or basted the pieces, which were then sewn into the final work by Mercedes Katz, a seamstress who has long worked with the artist.

More photos available in the Lark Creek article.

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