Monday, December 27, 2010

pink; art is a guaranty of sanity

Today, I wanted to pay homage to an artist who died this year and with her work, say goodbye to her and the year 2010. Theoretically, Louise Bourgeois is no longer our contemporary because she is no longer with us, but her spirit is still alive and well. She had created many works using the colour pink in her lifetime and is an artist I will not be able to ignore within the pink section of this blog, well, not for another year at least!.

There are two reasons why I have chosen this work in particular for my pink category this week. The first, as mentioned above, is to pay homage to an artist who died at the tender age of 98 and the second, because this work hit home base with me, particularly when I think of this past year. This year, I have been tested with ill health, which caused me to stop practicing as I healed myself physically, while around the same time, dealing with a swaying mind that had caused me grief and a bitter attitude towards the artworld that I am involved in. I have since printed myself a copy of this work and it now sits up on my wall, framed, where I can see it everyday. It reminds me of why I create, why I need to create, why I have no choice but to create and brings me back to a place where everything is ok.

Art Is A Guaranty Of Sanity was created in 2000 and is pencil on pink paper.  Bourgeois elegantly presents us with a work wrapped up in pink, a colour that has been known to suppress agressive antagonistic and anxiety ridden behavior. When we look at this work and read the words, we instantly feel calmed and relaxed, as if we needed to hear these words and for it to be presented in such a way. The writing suggests the remains of tension and anxiety, but the background soothes us, giving us hope that our world will be ok.  It feels really, really good to look at this piece; to experience this piece. We can easily imagine how we would feel sitting down and scrawling these words for ourselves.

The work is simple. There are no bells and whistles. It has the naivety of a child and blows a punch of truth in such a obvious manner, just like children can sometimes do. Bourgeois' work does that with honesty and elegance. She emotionally punches you in the face making you feel raw and exposed, yet with a gentle hand on the lower part of your back, pushes you along your way. There is no escape from her world (or our own for that matter). Her work is really powerful. She lays it out and forces you to deal with it, but totally understands you at the same time, surrounding you with a metaphorical big bear hug.

Creativity, in all its guises, is what we all need in life as human beings. We need to feel free to fall into our imaginary worlds, to create them, escape to them, for them to be a part of us. It is the natural order. Without a form of expression, we become no use to anyone, let alone to ourselves.  Her simple words stir our most intrinsic fears, feelings and desires about our own lives. With this work, we feel human, we feel safe, we feel normal.

I thank Louise for her practice, her bravado and her perseverance to create when no one was looking and keep creating when everyone was. She had stood the test of time, exploring themes from her childhood and using her art as therapy, to externalize what she felt and what she had bottled up inside. Her art was her sanity and she reminds us that it is ours too.
 R.I.P Lousie Bourgeois (25/12/1911 – 31/5/2010)
and the year Two Thousand and Ten


  1. Hennesy Youngman did a great feature on her:

  2. Thanks Ace! For those that haven't seen Hennesy, do so!