Louise Bourgeois

It is the fourth time I have seen the same art exhibition in a month. Is it becoming an obsession? Maybe! Having seen Structures of Existence: The Cells at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, I feel deeply touched by the bleak and brilliant art and person of Louise Bourgeois.

The Cells is a series of spatial sculptures, which represent the artist’s emotions that stem from her childhood traumas. Each cell represents a memory or a psychic injury.

Each time I have seen The Cells, new symbolic details were revealed to my eyes and hidden layers of meaning emerged from the deep. Bourgeois’ symbolism is subtle and straightforward at the same time. At a first glance, the cells seem complex in their inner meanings, but the more you get to know Louise Bourgeois as a person, understand her earlier life and the related fears and anxieties, the easier to decipher.

img_7233

img_7235

Though she encourages the audience to look at the objects and create own meanings, not merely look for cues in her life. Of the four times I visited the exhibition, twice I was there with friends or family. Not surprisingly, each of us found different meanings in the same objects or installations. What seemed horrifying to me evoked positive feelings in my friend. For instance, the giant spider, which is perceived as a repulsive and perhaps dangerous animal also signifies a mother’s protectiveness.

img_6767

One of the cells that has made a strong impression on me is the one named “Red Room (Child)”. The deep red color creates a strong sense of drama and passion. It can also signify a tragic or painful event with involvement of blood. This cell is like a theatrical stage. It is up to the audience to make up the story. The red wax sculpture of small infant hands being held by adult hands from the wrist is striking. There is affection, protectiveness, but also softness and despair. Perhaps the adult is trying to help the child, but his or her hands are cut off, so are the infant’s hands. There is hope and hopelessness. Connectedness and separation. The spools of red thread lead me to think of patience and discipline. Or perhaps the opportunity to influence the rest of your life by weaving the unused thread as you please. There are many objects made of glass, which can mean fragility and vulnerability.

The ambiguity and symbolic abundance of Louise Bourgeois’ work is overwhelming. It is so rich in meaning, that the works unfold continuously at every glance. The exhibition The Cells at Louisiana is definitely worth  a visit. But if you intend to get a deeper understanding of Louis Bourgeois’ fantastic universe, you may need more than one visit.

A Raft on the River

Unlike someone who works in the efficient world of business, this time, I do not have a plan. I do not have a strategy. I do not have a selling idea. What I have is a bunch of thoughts, ideas, opinions, experiences…..and a gut feeling. Yes, a feeling that I might have something worth writing about, something which might be of interest to some audience out there. I am aware, that this sounds infinitely vague coming from a person, whose job is planning marketing activities a year ahead of time. Planning and prioritizing are so important in my job. Nevertheless, business is different than creative work in many ways. Though, both require great focus.

I have always enjoyed reading. Ever since I learned to read, I read books. In my childhood, my father, who worked for the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, would bring home copies of the children’s classics published by the Ministry. It would not last very long though, before I exhausted every single novel or short story and asked my parents for money to buy new books. I would read at every opportunity I had. I read all the books my parents had on their bookshelves, many Turkish and international classics. Reading made me happy, expanded my imagination and knowledge. Books were truly my best childhood friends.

In 1985, my father was sent as cultural attaché to work in Copenhagen. At that time, I was a teenager and thrilled with the idea of seeing a new part of the world. I was enrolled at an international school and continued my education in English. During my high school years, my passion for literature continued. My dear teacher Mr. Pierce who taught us English Literature at Copenhagen International School, inspired me immensely. It was during his classes, I started reading and writing poetry.

Now, why am I telling you all this? Because I have a creative urge and I need to start somewhere. Giving some background seems like a good starting point. With all due respect to people, who write for a living: I am doing this because of a personal interest of mine, not because I am thinking of a change of career path or a commercial success.

This blog is my wooden raft and I am setting it in the river and letting it float. We will see where the river will take us. Come and float with me, climb up , have a coffee and discuss.