press release

The French-American artist Louise Bourgeois (1911) is one of the world’s most prominent contemporary artists. Her exhibition at the Helsinki City Art Museum’s Tennis Palace galleries presents a unique collection of her works. With more than 20 pieces of sculpture, it includes several large installations, such as Cell I and Cell VIII from the 1990s, and her spiders that are more than six metres across. The exhibition also includes graphics and drawings.

The exhibition features the sculptures and installations of the artist Louise Bourgeois. In her nineties, Bourgeois is still vitally creative. The oldest work in the exhibition - the Personnages series - is from the 1940s and the most recent one - Couple - from 2001. Bourgeois made the Personnages in the late 1940s and early 1950s following her move from Paris to New York City. The intensity of the relationship between Personnages and their surroundings anticipated her later installations and laid the foundations for her role as one of the main reformers of 20th century sculpture. Nature Study (1984–1994) and Fillette (Sweeter version) (1968–1999) epitomize the artist’s interest in the body, which has continued throughout her career. Insomnia Drawings (1994-1995) is an independent series of 220 drawings. Louise Bourgeois’ family owned a business that restored tapestries. Her mother’s poor health and her father’s ten-year relationship with their private tutor created an environment that traumatized young Louise as she grew up. Her art is a constant return to the troubling issues of her childhood. This is reflected in her own comments about it: “It is not an image I am seeking. It’s not an idea. It’s an emotion you want to recreate, an emotion of wanting, of giving, and of destroying.” Bourgeois works with a wide variety of materials and techniques, but whether she uses wood, bronze, fabric, marble, steel or rubber, her pieces always give evocative form to emotions. Her principal themes are the basic questions of humanity: birth and death, sexuality, fear and love, and the body. She became internationally known in the late 1970s and early 1980s with her first major exhibition – she was already in her seventies – at MoMA in New York City in 1982. Since then, Louise Bourgeois has been one of the most prominent contemporary artists in the world.

The exhibitions main sponsor is Anna magazine. The exhibition has also received support from GeoLogistics AB.

The exhibition’s curator is Julie Sylvester. It has been displayed in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and it will travel from Helsinki to Stockholm (Kulturhuset) and Oslo (Museet for Samtidskunst).


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Louise Bourgeois
Kurator: Julie Sylvester
Ort: Tennis Palace