121211: Fondation Beyeler Louise Bourgeois

Fondation Beyeler Louise Bourgeois 03.09.11 – 08.01.12 Dialogue between the (un)like On the occasion of Louise Bourgeois’ 100th birthday the Fondation Beyeler is presenting some of her key works – among them the famous Passage Dangereux, the 220 Insomnia Drawings and the monumental spider Maman. Yet the exhibition in Basel is not a large retrospective; Á l’infini shows a selection of Bourgeois’ works and compares them to the “Grand Masters” of modern art such as Cézanne, Picasso or Barnett Newman. The obvious thesis of the exhibition: Bourgeois’ dialogue is at eye level with her important – and exclusively male – colleagues. With Red Fragmented Figure and Ferdinand Léger’s Contraste de forms two works with a similar cubistic dynamic are juxtaposed; the Waiting Hours, a series of geometrical patchwork compositions is positioned next to the asymmetrical colour formations of Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue Black Red Green; and her work In Respite, a rack made of cotton reels and an amorphous pink body maltreated with needles, shares the room with Francis Bacon’s Lying Figure. This kind of formal aesthetic closeness proves to be a blessing and a curse for Bourgeois. Some comparisons turn out to be a platitude – for example when Bourgeois’ Cell XVII – a bust in a cage – is presented next to Giacometti’s nearly identically composed La Cage – and the former no longer being more than a course citation of the other. On the other hand, the reduction to the formal liberates Bourgeois from the oozing severity of her psychoanalytical-autobiographical interpretation – even if this is undeniably justified, it has turned into a tagged one-dimensionality. Praising Bourgeois’ work for its aesthetic quality without the usual ‘childhood traumatic’ translation is a real treat. Where the redundant path of viewing Bourgeois’ work fades into the background it makes way for new layers of meaning of her work. Nevertheless, Bourgeois’ oeuvre contextualizes the work created by her male colleagues in a critical way and reminds of the gender specific price for existentialism and minimalistic abstraction. By Ines Kleesattel Fondation Beyeler 4125 Riehen / Basel, Baselstrasse 101 Tel: +41 (0)61 645 97 00 Fax: +41 (0)61 645 97 19 Email: foundation@beyeler.com Opening hours: Mon – Sun 10 – 18 hours, Wed 10 – 20 hours

Fondation Beyeler
4125 Riehen / Basel, Baselstrasse 101
Tel: +41 - (0)61 - 645 97 00, Fax: +41 - (0)61 - 645 97 19
Email: fondation@beyeler.com
Öffnungszeiten: Mo-So 10-18, Mi 10-200 h

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