Ferocious stitches: Louise Bourgeois

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NOTES ON VISITING THE LOUISE BOURGEOIS ARTIST ROOM – TATE MODERN

I visit the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition and the new Switch building. Buy three O’Keeffe prints and lie on the floor of one of the video rooms like an excited kid. Realise there is a Bourgeois Artist Room and make up my mind to come back the following week.

A week later. Hesitate on the threshold of the Bourgeois Room. Too many people. I don’t want to deal with them. In the end the spider draws me in. Not the giant one although this one is still pretty damn big.

Artist Room - Tate Modern

Artist Room – Tate Modern

Although a lot of the work is familiar, for some reason it all strikes me as much richer this time. Freed from the context of the Freud Museum (where I last encountered much of it) it seems more mysterious, more plural in meaning.  Takes me back to the unexpected intoxication of finding a small Bourgeois/Emin show in Venice some years ago.

I realise again – how do I keep forgetting? – how much she works with fabric and stitching (like Emin). The loose threads dangling from stitched lips fascinate me.

Couple 1 dangle from the ceiling. Like an adult ‘upside down doll’, two in one. The very thing I have been trying to achieve in poetry – voices sharing borders, scaffolding each other, permeating each other – done in stuffed fabric and blanket stitch.

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I don’t know if this is possible to do in language – does it need this three dimensionality? Do you need to be a spinner, a worker in stitches, a spider?

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