Louise Bourgeois described her artistic practice as an attempt to work through whatever tumult plagued her — psychologically, personally, artistically — to find perfect harmony. Her work often references human anatomy and sexuality, in some instances overtly and in others more subtlely through organic and ambiguous forms. Her oeuvre encompassed drawings, paintings, textiles, embroidered works, sculpture, and installations ranging in scale from a few inches to fully immersive environments.
Bourgeois began working with marble in the early 1960s while living in Avenza, Italy, and the medium proved particularly compelling for the artist — its resilience and difficulty pushing her creative boundaries. For B6: The Robert W. Wilson Building, MASS MoCA, in partnership with the Louise Bourgeois Trust, presents a group of the artist’s marble sculptures, some of which have never been seen previously in the United States. The works fluctuate between the whimsical and the grotesque, the threatening and the nurturing, highlighting Bourgeois’ investigations of the polarities of the emotions that were her subjects.
The installation also speaks to the artist’s ease with both intimate pieces and works of monumental scale, with one sculpture weighing in at 15 tons. The design of the gallery that houses these works in the Robert W. Wilson Building was constructed specifically to hold the enormous weight.