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  • Writer's pictureLaliana

Louise Bourgeois

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

“I really want to worry people, to bother people, They say they are bothered by the double genitalia in my new work. Well, I have been bothered by it my whole life. I once said to my children, `It’s only physiological, you know, the sex drive.’ That was a lie. It’s much more than that.” Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois, I Do, I Undo, I Redo, 2000

I Do, I Undo, I Redo  is composed by three steel towers, some 9 meters high. The viewer is invited to climb staircases which spiralled around these central columns, supporting platforms which were themselves surrounded by large circular mirrors. Time to time, inside the installation, are place some puppets / figures which represent, on my opinion, mothers.

I DO is the largest tower at sixty feet. You go up a single spiral staircase to a deck where there is one chair and five oval mirrors.I UNDO is a rectangular tower. You go up an external staircase to an enclosed deck and then come down a spiral staircase into a central cell where there sits a chair and small mirror. I REDO has a double spiral staircase which means two people can go up to the deck together and sit on a pair of chairs beneath four mirrors. I DO, I UNDO and I REDO are the direct result of Bourgeois’ desire to CHANGE, DESTROY and REBUILD forms.

Bourgeois adopted the spiral (see the shape of the stairs of this work) as a source of stable rules, capable to give a sense of stability. The spiral became her favourite form for solving problems, as an attempt to control the chaos and as a metaphor of the continuous and daily changes of life.

The spiral assumes various contradictory meanings of tension and relaxation, of power and vulnerability, of creativity and giving up control (when it turns clockwise and outwards from the centre) or destruction and fear of losing control (turning anticlockwise and inwards from the outside).

The towers show the importance of Louise’s relationship with her MOTHER, which was cut short, and becoming a MOTHER herself, it is the spiral of regeneration and often chaotic relationship between mother and daughter that she sees as the most important thread, at this time, to her life and this is what she has tried to capture in the towers.

The spiral is also a very strong spiritual symbol, which can maybe help us regain some of the respect for what ever else is out there, and as artists we can help in the contemplation and worship of this, as we all search for an approach to life that brings harmony to the chaos.

“Sex and the absence of sex is terribly important.”L.Bourgeois

"There is no division from my work and my personal life, art is all about emotions, I have to express my emotion because they are inappropriate for my size”. L.Bourgeois


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