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Title: Disagreeable objects : the sculptural strategies of Louise Bourgeois
Author: Burge, C. M.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis explores Louise Bourgeois' practice as a matrix of strategies, and is positioned in opposition to the psycho-biographical approach that has dominated writing about Bourgeois' art. I take Giacometti's title at its most literal: that the object may disagree with the discourse around it. Chapter one places Bourgeois in her moment of the 1940s to historicize an artist who is seen as out-of-time and to explore her early strategies. Chapter two considers Bourgeois' studio as an alternative site for meaning in her work. Her studio strategies can be seen to be at once invisible, dominated by her personality and biography and yet simultaneously central to the curatorial and commercial activities. Bourgeois' narratives, that dominate our understanding of her work, are discovered to operate mythically (Midgley). I interrogate the status of Bourgeois' words and her self-images in relation to her objects. I suggest that they exist in a complex relationship to the sculptures, slipping between context and sculptural intervention. Consequently, there are moments when it can be argued that even Bourgeois' body is a part of her work. Hence, I undermine the art-life trajectory, not by separating the artist from the work, through the expressive fallacy and the critique of authorship, but by paying close attention to the blurring between life and art. The inevitable conclusion is that, in a very real sense, the art may be producing the life. My final chapter investigates how Bourgeois' objects co-opt the audience as one's peripatesis becomes a walk into her environments and in some cases one substitutes for the sculptural symbolic object. Concluding with Bourgeois' most recent work I ask if her most well known art of recent years is best understood in terms of her aging and examine how understanding an aging subjectivity may alter our perception of Bourgeois' work.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available