Friday, September 26, 2014
Artist Film Friday
|Louise Bourgeois photographed by James Hamilton, |
in 1992, with her piece Arch of Hysteria
Here is the synopsis of the film from Wikipedia:
Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine, a 2008 documentary film about artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois directed by Marion Cajori and Amei Wallach and distributed by Zeitgeist Films, chronicles the life and imagination of Paris-born artist Louise Bourgeois. Her process is on full display in this documentary, which features the artist in her studio and with her installations, shedding light on her intentions and inspirations. Throughout the documentary, Bourgeois reveals her life and work to be imbued with her ongoing obsession with the mysteries of childhood. Bourgeois has for six decades been an important and influential figure in the world of modern art. In 1982, 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. She is perhaps best known for her series of massive spider structures that have been installed around the world. Filmed with unprecedented access to the artist between 1993 and 2007, Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine is a comprehensive examination of the creative process.
The reason I wish to share this film with you is because there is one point in the film that illustrates very beautifully why artists contribute so much to the world and the people in it.
Artists manifest and share what unhinges our own grief and our own pain and what releases the light of our souls. Even though manifesting these emotions through art is therapy for us, and can be disturbing sometimes, the unhinging of these emotional doors help other people too. Even if certain emotional doors remain locked in you...at least on one side of the door, maybe some light can come in.
Here is a part of the movie I have transcribed for you. Louise is speaking with, I think Amei Wallach. She is sitting at a table in her kitchen and she has a tangerine in her hands. As she is speaking she is drawing on the outside of the tangerine with a sharpie marker and then cutting along those marks through the peel. Here's a visual:
And this is what she says:
Tangerine - the word is a stimuli for me. If I start drawing a figure on the tangerine little by little the past is going to re-emerge and I will be able to verbalize it. That's it (holding up the tangerine). Now this is not my work of art - it was my father's work of art. Around the end of the dinner on Sunday, he would stand up and take his tangerine and announce he was making a little portrait of his daughter. After drawing it he had a way of cutting it - like so - ...so then you lift up all these shapes that you have drawn and then cut (she demonstrates, peeling back the different peel shapes) the drawing the cutting and the lifting - right. And then when you reach the navel the core would come out. This is the moment you would look inside and the core was fantastic - you would marvel at it right? And you were supposed to marvel at it too; "Look, just look! How impressive." Then he would turn and say "I am sorry that my daughter does not exhibit such beauty because my figure is very rich and obviously my daughter doesn't have very much there - the little creature was just a girl." Maybe the audience never peeped, since they were being fed, they never peeped and maybe - maybe some of them felt sorry for us. But I didn't realize that, I thought at the time that they were laughing at us, that they were not laughing with us, that they were laughing at us. And the pain was very great. (she is trying to keep her composure and must pause from time to time). After fifty years the thing is so vivid it is as if it had happened yesterday. (long pause again) All these children gather up in the night and what can they do except cry and cry in the night? An it is completely useless...what I want to say is that people want to cry in the night...shy do they do so? They don't do it to be clever. They don't do it to disturb the peace. They do it because...it helps them and, since you become very ugly when you yell, you know? . . . .so they cry all night an no body knows why...(she cannot keep her composure any longer in front of the camera and leaves the table and the screen goes dark. The next frames of are one of her exhibits and you hear her voice again), ...I overcame this trauma through a dream. . . .his eyes fell out on the table and the cat jumped up on the table and gobbled up his two eyes. I had achieved my revenge.It is a constant amazement to me that so many people ever survived childhood. Louise had three boys of her own and I don't think she was always easy on them either. At one point in the film she says about parents and children that you come here and you were never promised a rose garden and parents do the best they can.
Hope you are doing the best you can today. I know I am...and I'll be back tomorrow. I think it may be Selling Art Tips Saturday :).