Louise Bourgeois Takes Centre Stage This Summer

Explore the fearless creativity of the artist Louise Bourgeois in a groundbreaking exhibition this summer.

Article by Victoria Pearson

1990_LOUISE BOURGEOIS BY YANN CHARBONNIERLouise Bourgeois, 1990 © Yann Charbonnier. Courtesy of the Art Gallery of NSW.

Visitors are invited to embark on a journey into the strange beauty and emotional power of the famed French–American artist Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales this summer. The major exhibition, titled “Louise Bourgeois: Has the Day Invaded the Night or Has the Night Invaded the Day?”, is an exclusive offering as part of the Sydney International Art Series 2023–24.

Curated by the Art Gallery’s head curator of international art, Justin Paton, and in collaboration with The Easton Foundation, New York, this exhibition is a tribute to Bourgeois’s influential career. Born in Paris in 1911 and later residing in New York until her passing in 2010, Bourgeois delves into themes such as family, motherhood, sexuality, and mortality with daring creativity.

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Installation of Louise Bourgeois 'Maman' at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, November 2023, photo © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Felicity Jenkins.
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Louise Bourgeois 'The Destruction of the Father' 1974, archival polyurethane, resin, wood, fabric, red light, 237.8 x 362.3 x 248.6 cm, Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland © The Easton Foundation, photo: Ron Amstutz.

Spanning more than 120 works, this exhibition marks the largest and most comprehensive display of Bourgeois’s work in the Asia-Pacific region. Rarely seen pieces, including the iconic spider sculpture “Maman” and works such as “The Destruction of the Father” and “Clouds and Caverns”, make their Australian debut.

The curating traverses two distinct spaces in the gallery’s new North Building, with ‘Day’ and ‘Night’ offering a chronological exploration of Bourgeois’s seven-decade career. The presentation includes projections of Bourgeois’s psychoanalytic writings by the text-based artist Jenny Holzer and a musical contribution by the composer Kali Malone.

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Louise Bourgeois 'Arch of Hysteria' 1993, bronze, polished patina, 83.8 x 101.6 x 58.4 cm, Collection The Easton Foundation, New York © The Easton Foundation, photo: Christopher Burke.
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Louise Bourgeois 'Untitled (Broom Woman)' 1997, steel, steel welds, wood broom head, fabric, 162.6 x 61 x 33 cm, private collection, courtesy Hauser & Wirth Collection Services © The Easton Foundation, photo: Christopher Burke.
Louise Bourgeois: THE COUPLE
Louise Bourgeois 'The Couple' 2003, aluminium, 365.1 x 200 x 109.9 cm, private collection, New York © The Easton Foundation, photo: Jonathan Leijonhufvud.

Supported by the NSW Government and part of the Sydney International Art Series, this retrospective showcases Bourgeois’s ceaseless exploration of life’s extremes. Alongside the exhibition, a free film series, “Louise Bourgeois goes to the movies”, curated by the Art Gallery’s film curator Ruby Arrowsmith-Todd, unveils Bourgeois’s lesser-known passion for cinema.

This ambitious exhibition, open now until April 28, 2024, not only pays tribute to a groundbreaking artist but also pushes the boundaries of art exploration at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Purchase tickets here.