Friday, June 23, 2017


The name of the spider is Maman, born during a rich vibrant avant-garde 20th century movement that explored Surrealism, Abstract, Expressionism and Post-Minimalism.  Maman fascinates. She towers over, is impossible to ignore or avoid, frightens the casual observer, and yet, upon closer inspection, is almost endearing. I noticed how she holds her sac of eggs next to her body ready to die herself before harm comes to them, but she'd be so easily crushed by anyone larger than herself.

"Almost 9 meters tall, Maman is one of the most ambitious of a series of sculptures by Bourgeois that take as their subject the spider, a motif that first appeared in several of the artist's drawings in the 1940s and came to assume a central place in her work during the 1990s. 

Intended as a tribute to her mother, who was a weaver:
“The Spider is an ode to my mother. She was my best friend. Like a spider, my mother was a weaver. My family was in the business of tapestry restoration, and my mother was in charge of the workshop. Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother.” —Louise Bourgeois

"Bourgeois's spiders are highly contradictory as emblems of maternity: they suggest both protector and predator—the silk of a spider is used both to construct cocoons and to bind prey—and embody both strength and fragility. Such ambiguities are powerfully figured in the mammoth Maman, which hovers ominously on legs like Gothic arches that act at once as a cage and as a protective lair to a sac full of eggs perilously attached to her undercarriage. The spider provokes awe and fear, yet her massive height, improbably balanced on slender legs, conveys an almost poignant vulnerability."

Maman by Louise Bourgeois
Bronze, marble, and stainless steel
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa

No comments:

Post a Comment