I have been reading bits and pieces from the book all afternoon, remembering the wonderful Louise Bourgeois.
The rawness and honesty of her words make them so powerful and allow the reader to gain a modest amount of insight into her amazing and ever creative mind. She says things that many artists are either too proud or too afraid to say, she happily contradicts herself if the words come from an honest place... it's more a case of sharing her evolved knowledge on a previous thought or topic rather than contradiction in the true sense - regardless, her words strike a chord with me and I admire her tremendously.
From an interview with Stuart Morgan, first published in Artscribe 1988 -
What's this piece called?
It embarrasses me to say I don't know what it's called. As time goes on it means different things to me, so I don't have a title. This is not my job. As far as I'm concerned it should have four or five titles. My subjects recur. They might look different but the subjects themselves are the same.
A diary note from 1986 -
Do not show your arrow, idiot.
Do not make threats, stupid.
Do not frighten horses.
Do not rock the boats.
Do not push a tantrum.
Do not show your jealousy.
Do not show how much you care.
A statement from 1979 -
Once I was beset by anxiety. I couldn't tell right from left or orient myself. I could have cried out with terror at being lost. But I pushed the fear away by studying the sky, determining where the moon would come out, where the sun would appear in the morning. I saw myself in relationship to the stars. I began weeping, and I knew that I was all right.
This is the way I make use of geometry today. The miracle is that I am able to do it - by geometry.
8 August 1987 -
You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love. That is why geometrically speaking the circle is a one.
Everything comes to you from the other. You have to be able to reach the other. If not you are alone...
3 October 1987 -
Transparency interests me. I want to be transparent. If people could see through me, they could not help loving me, forgive me. What is the difference between the two? None.
From a series of statements published in 1992 -
When I was growing up, all the women in my house were using needles, I've always had a fascination with the needle, the magic power of the needle. The needle is used to repair the damage. It's a claim to forgiveness. It is never aggressive, it's not a pin.
If a person is an artist, it is a guarantee of sanity. He is able to take his torment.
By withdrawing, by recognizing you have no power, you become more than yourself. You get ideas which never would have occurred to you. In my art, I live in a world of my own making. I make decisions. I have power. In the real world, I don't want power.
Self-expression is sacred and fatal. It's a necessity. Sublimation is a gift, a stroke of luck. One has nothing to do with the other.
I am saying in my sculpture today what I could not make out in the past. It was fear that kept me from understanding. Fear is the pits. It paralyzes you.
My sculpture allows me to re-experience the fear, to give it a physicality so I am able to hack away at it. Fear becomes a manageable reality. Sculpture allows me to re-experience the past, to see the past in its objective, realistic proportion.
Fear is a passive state. The goal is to be active and take control. The move is from the passive to the active. If the past is not negated in the present, you do not live. You go through the emotions like a zombie, and life passes you by.
Since the fears of the past were connected with the functions of the body, they reappear through the body. For me, sculpture is the body. My body is my sculpture.
The intensity of Francis Bacon's work moves me deeply. I react positively. I sympathize. His suffering communicates. The definition of beauty is a kind of intimacy in the visual. I feel for Bacon even though his emotions are not mine.
The physical reality of his works is transformed and transcended. His room does not obey the laws of perspective. To look at his pictures makes me alive. I want to share it. It's almost the expression of love..
I am glad she shared her insight, knowledge and experience in print.
I do not know who took the above photograph of Louise, if I find out, I will credit note it - but I love it so much I just had to include it.