Louise Bourgeois Maman

6/11/22

STAVROS NIARCHOS FOUNDATION CULTURAL CENTER / ATHENS

Louise Bourgeois Maman

Louise Bourgeois’s monumental sculpture Maman (1999) is brought to the Greek public by NEON and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), collaborating for the first time.

This iconic giant spider — one of the works that made the artist internationally famous — will be on display at SNFCC’s Esplanade for a seven-month period, with free entry to the public.

The SNFCC’s participation in the Maman installation is made possible by a recent grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) for the SNFCC’s 2022 operations and programming.

Through her art, Louise Bourgeois expressed her innermost thoughts and fears, worked through problems, and gave form to her emotions. In prints, drawings, textiles, installation, and, most famously, sculpture, Bourgeois explored themes of guilt, fear, memory, motherhood, and love. Bourgeois’s art was informed by her life, particularly her childhood years. She first made drawings of spiders in the late 1940s, and nearly 50 years later created the giant three-dimensional spiders for which she has become well-known.

Maman, standing at over 10 metres tall, was created for the Tate Modern’s first Turbine Hall commission in 2000, and was subsequently cast in an edition of bronze, stainless steel, and marble. Bourgeois stated that the work was symbolic of her mother, a weaver and tapestry restorer. With ten eggs in its abdomen, the sculpture embodies ideas of maternal protection. However, the artist’s relationship to motherhood was ambiguous, contradictory, and complex. Dominating its surroundings and teetering on rangy, segmented legs, Maman also evokes fear and suggests entrapment.

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