Art as seen by Louise Bourgeois

Art is a privilege, a blessing, a relief. (…) Privilege entitles you when you deserve nothing. Privilege is something you have and others don’t.

Art was a privilege given to me and I pursue it even more than a privilege of having children. (…) It’s a fantastic privilege to have access to the unconscious. I have to be worthy of this privilege and to exercise it. It was a privilege also to sublimate. A lot of people cannot sublimate. They have no access to their unconscious. There is something very special and very a painful in the access to your unconscious. But there is no escape from it and no escape from an access once it’s given to you, once you are favoured with it, whether you want it or not…The life of an artist is basically a denial of sex…

(…) I’m not interested in art history (…) Art is not about art, art is about life and that sums it up (…)

Modern art(…) is about the hurt of not being able to express yourself properly, to express your intimate relations, your unconscious, to trust the world enough to express yourself directly in it. It is about trying to be sane in this situation, of being tentatively and temporarily sane by expressing yourself. All art comes from terrific failures and terrific needs that we have.

It is about the difficulty of being a self because one is neglected. Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied. Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern.

Louise Bourgeois in an interview with D. Kuspit; excerpts from her Destruction of the Father, Reconstruction of the Father: Writings and Interviews 1923-1997, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998

What can be said more? Perhaps, being a bit bold – that art is not a therapy alone. Art is not an introspection only. Art is about the Other, about the conscious, real, about the self-rejection of the sublime and about cherishing sex. Because sex means to cherish the Other. The Other can be and is your Sublime. No one sane could possibly claim – I’m the only source of my art, of the sublimity, of the privilege and – of the pain my unconscious implies and my art excavates…


About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

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