- Media category
- Materials used
- bronze, fabric, wood and metal
- 116.8 x 193.0 x 99.1 cm
- Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
- Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Foundation 2016
- Contemporary galleries
- Accession number
- © The Easton Foundation/VAGA, NY. Copyright Agency
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Louise Bourgeois is one of the most important female sculptors of the contemporary period. But given her forthright rejection of the label ‘woman artist’, she might better be considered one of the most innovative artists to have emerged in the United States in the second-half of the twentieth century. She left behind a sculptural legacy of rare breadth and intensity, one that took her from the late modernist influences of Surrealism through to her foundational work defining the new century’s fascination with subjectivity, sexuality and the abject.
Bourgeois’ idiosyncratic and fascinating practice spanned seven decades, yet it always projected a singular vision. From her early work – described by Lynne Cooke as having ‘dual threads – one involved with the psychic and corporeal structures of the body, the other with the charged spaces it constructs for mental and physical shelter’ – to her later practice that intensified these enduring preoccupations, she spent decades sharpening our awareness of sensations – from the fleshy to the psychological – that reside beyond the purely visual.
Bourgeois was obsessed by the self and its many relations. With cathartic intensity, she drew upon autobiographical content, particularly her childhood in France and fraught relationship with her parents, to explore the effect that people have on each other. This lithe torso, with its exposed ribcage and jutting hips, suggests a self pushed to physical and psychological extremes. Historical depictions of hysteria and ecstasy often portray women’s bodies contorted like this one. Bourgeois revises that imagery in this arched male body.
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Visceral sensation: voices so far, so near, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, 27 Apr 2013–01 Sep 2013
Nude: art from the Tate collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Nov 2016–05 Feb 2017
Nude: art from the Tate collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, 18 Mar 2017–16 Jul 2017
Ecstasy: Baroque and Beyond, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane, 16 Sep 2017–25 Feb 2018
Here we are, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 24 Aug 2019–13 Oct 2019
Some mysterious process, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 01 Jun 2020–13 Sep 2020
Archie Plus, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 26 Sep 2020–07 Mar 2021
From Here, for Now, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Nov 2022–12 Feb 2023
Referenced in 6 publications
Andrea Bubenik (Curator), Ecstasy: Baroque and Beyond, Brisbane, 2017, 30-31 (colour illus.), 32-33.
Emma Chambers and Justin Paton (Curators), Nude: art from the Tate collection, Sydney, 2016, 190, 191 (colour illus.), 192-3 (colour illus.).
Ingvild Goetz and Karsten Löckemann (Editors), Happy birthday!: 20 years of the Goetz Collection, Munich, 2013, 96-7 (illus.).
Agnes Husslein-Acro and Bettina M Busse (Editors), Gironcoli: Context: Andre, Bacon, Barney, Beuys, Bourgeois, Brus, Klauke, Nauman, Schwarzkogler, West, Nuremberg, 2013, 22 (illus.), 125 (illus.), 127 (illus.).
Ryura Imafuku and Emiko Yoshioka, Visceral sensation: voices so far, so near, Tokyo, 2013, 19 (illus.).
Justin Paton, Look, 'Louise Bourgeois, Arched figure 1993', pg.28-9, Sydney, Nov 2016-Dec 2016, 28, 29 (colour illus.).