"The privilege was the access to the unconscious. It is a fantastic privilege to have access to the unconscious. I had to be worthy of this privilege, and to exercise it. It was a privilege also to be able to sublimate… There is something very special in being able to sublimate your unconscious, and something very painful in the access to it. But there is no escape from it. – Louise Bourgeois
The French-American artist Louise Bourgeois (1911 – 2010) lived almost an entire century and had the rare achievement of bridging the modern and the postmodern eras in her life and art. Conscious and Unconscious is the first in-depth survey of the work of this artist not merely in Qatar but in the Middle East. In a body of work dominated by dualities and polarities – active and passive, male and female, figurative and abstract, geometric and organic, mother and father, murder and suicide – the dynamic between conscious and unconscious is perhaps the most significant. For Bourgeois, the act of making sculpture is nothing other than finding sculptural equivalents for psychological states – of giving conscious form to her unconscious impulses, wishes, and fears.The thirty-two works in the exhibition, consisting of sculptures, installation works, gouaches, and fabric pieces, and dating from 1947 to 2009, have all been selected with a view to illuminating this underlying dynamic.View a timeline of Louise Bourgeois's life and artwork."
Louise Bourgeois, 2003. Photo: Nanda Lanfranco
About the Curator
Philip Larratt-Smith worked as Louise Bourgeois's literary archivist from 2002 to 2010. He is currently the curator of the international programme at Malba – Fundación Costantini in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Filmed by QMA and interviewed by Laura Fox, QMA Marketing & PR Team, 2012 in the QMA Gallery.