Monday, November 16, 2009

lost in translation

another fabric book of LB.

I watched the documentary Louise Bourgeois: The spider, the mistress, and the tangerine today in my studio. And as always LB's combination of wit, vulnerability, and temper fascinates me. But one brief moment in the movie, it might even have been in the extras made me a little disappointed. In this section a friend of LB's discusses her fondness for the fabric book from 2005 Ode รข l'Oubli. This too is one of my all time favorite works of LB.

one of my favorite pages.
I have a copy of the printed version of book and love it. It has always been one of my favorite books to show students and look through myself for a little bit of inspiration. In it LB masterfully translates her drawing style into a series of mostly abstract embroidery and applique drawings. Her choice of fabric and color is nothing less than perfect.

a rare page were you can see the monogrammed initials of the original linen.

Come to find out from the documentary that each piece was sewn on one of her cloth napkins from her wedding linens. Many having stains and spills revealed, especially on the backs of each piece, along with her newly acquired married initials LBG. In addition, the back of each piece is revealed as you see her stitches and process. (thought most of the fine stitching was done by hired sewers, LB's hands are no longer able to do such intricate work).

working on assembling the book as editions.

I was fascinated and inspired to find all this out but very sad that the book reproduction does not reveal any of this. The images make one believe that each linen is pristine and new. And no backs are revealed at all, while in the artists book they all are. I would have loved to seen just a few. Therefore, I so wish that someday I have the opportunity to see this work in person, but even then know it will not be as much as I want, because I really want to feel the fabric and stitches, see the backs and flaws, as this all adds even more to the very beautiful work.

Makes you realize how much you miss from a piece when you can not handle it and experience it as curators, collectors, and the artists have the privilege to.

Excellent article on this book here.

2 comments:

[.L.] said...

She used to do open crits in her home. A friend of mine went once.

Apparently, she likes you to bring her chocolate and has a full bar on hand and then she proceeds to rip you to pieces.

I love her and her work.

Joetta M. said...

love that story. i have always wanted to have the opportunity to go to one of her open studios, i believe they are still going on. But also feel like it would be totally terrifying.
:)