Louise Bourgeois | Haus der Kunst

Structures of Existence: The Cells

27 February 2015  –  02 August 2015
Haus der Kunst


In an artistic career spanning seven decades, Louise Bourgeois (1911, Paris – 2010, New York) created a unique body of work in a wide range
of form, material and scale. In the 1940s, she pioneered the use of
environmental installation for her work, and in the 1970s and 80s she
would at times bring her sculpture into dialogue with theater and
performance. Further, her work helped shift critical discourse to
encompass psychoanalysis and feminism, theories that have since become
prevalent in the artistic language of contemporary art today.

Among the most innovative and challenging sculptural works in her
extensive oeuvre are the “Cells”, a series of architectural spaces that
preoccupied her for nearly 20 years. Bourgeois’s “Cells” are intensely
psychological microcosms: situated within various enclosures, each is a
multi-faceted collection of objects and sculptural forms arranged to
evoke an atmosphere of emotional resonance. In almost theatrical scenes,
these everyday objects, items of clothing or fabric, or furniture,
along with singular sculptures by Bourgeois, create a charged barrier
between the interior world of the artist and the exterior world that is
the exhibition space.

As Bourgeois stated: “The ‘Cells’ represent different types of pain:
the physical, the emotional and psychological, and the mental and
intellectual. When does the emotional become physical? When does the
physical become emotional? It’s a circle going round and round. …Each
‘Cell’ deals with the pleasure of the voyeur, the thrill of looking and
being looked at. The ‘Cells’ either attract or repulse each other. There
is this urge to integrate, merge, or disintegrate.” (Louise Bourgeois,

In this exhibition, the first to concentrate on the “Cells” series,
Haus der Kunst will assemble the largest number of “Cells” presented to
date. It will also include important works from previous decades that
led to the development of this body of work. This comprehensive survey
will bring to light key facets of Bourgeois’s thinking about space and
memory, the body and architecture, and the conscious and the

( http://www.hausderkunst.de/en/exhibitions/detail/louise-bourgeois-structures-of-existence-the-cells/ )