The meaning of Zeitgeist

Pronunciation: Zaitgaist


Louise Bourgeois



Louise Bourgeois

The artist Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911.  Her art education began at the Ecole du Louvre, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Académie Julian, and Atelier Fernand Léger.  

In 1938 Louise Bourgeois immigrated to the United States where she continued her art education at the Art Students League in New York.

Her career started as a painter and engraver, however by the 1940’s this changed to sculptural work, and this is how she is best known today as a twentieth-century leader. 

She was influenced by European Surrealist artists who had immigrated, like herself, to the United States after World War II.  

Louise Bourgeois started her sculptural career by carving shapes which were abstract but organic and were usually carved from wood, which were sculptural in their appearance and would be placed in groups.

In the 1960’s she started to execute her sculptues in rubber, bronze, and stone, which would become larger and this became a dominant theme.

She was asked to comment on her childhood and she says “My childhood has never lost its magic, it has never lost its mystery, and it has never lost its drama.”
Louise Bourgeois’s work is “deeply symbolic”, using “her relationship with her parents and the role sexuality played in her early family life as a vocabulary in which to understand and remake that history.”  Her work can be found in many museums throughout the world.  Unfortunately in May 2010 she passed away. 



Louise Bourgeois
Bronze, polished patina, hanging piece
33 x 40 x 23″; 83.8 x 101.6 x 58.4 cm.
Courtesy Cheim & Read, Hauser & Wirth and Galerie Karsten Greve
Photo: Allan Finkelman


Louise Bourgeois’ Maman (1999) on the North landscape at Tate Modern in 2007
Image Courtesy of Tate Photography
Louise Bourgeois, Maman, 1999
365 x 351 x 403″; 927.1 x 891.5 x 1023.6 cm.
Bronze, Stainless Steel and Marble
© Louise Bourgeois


Louise Bourgeois, Crouching Spider, (2003) @ Hauser & Wirth, London, Savile Row


Artist’s Statement

An artist’s words are always to be taken cautiously.  The finished work is often a stranger to, and sometimes very much at odds with what the artist felt, or wished to express when he began.  At best the artist does what he can rather than what he wants to do. After the battle is over and the damage faced up to, the result may be surprisingly dull—but sometimes it is surprisingly interesting. The mountain brought forth a mouse, but the bee will create a miracle of beauty and order.  Asked to enlighten us on their creative process, both would be embarrassed, and probably uninterested. The artist who discusses the so-called meaning of his work is usually describing a literary side-issue. The core of his original impulse is to be found, if at all, in the work itself.  Just the same, the artist must say what he feels: Louise Bourgeois, Spring, 1949 My work grows from the duel between the isolated individual and the shared awareness of the group. At first I made single figures without any freedom at all: blind houses without any openings, any relation to the outside world. Later, tiny windows started to appear. And then I began to develop an interest in the relationship between two figures. The figures of this phase are turned in on themselves, but they try to be together even though they may not succeed in reaching each other.  Gradually the relations between the figures I made became freer and more subtle, and now I see my works as groups of objects relating to each other.  Although ultimately each can and does stand alone, the figures can be grouped in various ways and fashions, and each time the tension of their relations makes for a different formal arrangement. For this reason the figures are placed in the ground the way people would place themselves in the street to talk to each other. And this is why they grow from a single point—a minimum base of immobility which suggests an always possible change.  In my most recent work these relations become clearer and more intimate. Now the single work has its own complex of parts, each of which is similar, yet different from the others. But there is still the feeling with which I began-the drama of one among many. The look of my figures is abstract, and to the spectator they may not appear to be figures at all. They are the expression, in abstract terms, of emotions and states of awareness. Eighteenth-century painters made “conversation pieces”; my sculptures might be called “confrontation pieces.”

Louise Bourgeois, 1954
SOURCE: Reading Abstract Expressionism: Context and Critique, Ellen G. Landau, ed., New
Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005, 180f. Originally published in Design Quarterly, no.
30 (1954), 18.


I have to be honest and say that I wasn’t very keen on this artist’s work, at first! The bloated bodies and strange sculptural forms seemed strange to me and I felt uncomfortable looking at them. After looking more into her work I found her textile pieces and drawings inspiring and the Crouching Spider sculpture quite amazing!

Using a digital SLR camera, experimenting and creating images/Exploring pattern for Task 2

I enjoy experimenting with my digital SLR camera.  I haven’t used one before as I always thought they were too complicated to use.  I tried using one on my previous college course and I really enjoyed using it.  I will post some of the images on here. 

I asked my daughter to put the lace across her face.  I took the images using the black and white function on my camera to see what happens.

I am pleased with the end result as I think that they have created some interesting images. 


Bonfire Night and my Mobile Phone

These images were captured using a mobile phone camera.  I am really pleased with them as at first, it was only an experiment just to see what would happen if anything!  I took quite a few pictures randomly, but I think these eleven images are the most interesting of them all.  The images show figures in front of the flashing lights and colours of the fireworks.  This is the main reason for showing them on my blog as the main focus for my task 3 project is sillouhettes and portraits. I think these images show an interesting view of how fireworks can create a pattern in the sky in a split second and the camera from my phone has managed to capture that moment.




Looking at Silouettes for Task 3

I have decided to look at silouettes and portraits for my Task 3 project.  I like images as they interest and influence me.  I have downloaded these images from the web.

The first two pictures show two images of a girl.  I find these images very striking and simple with the sun light and the hair blowing carelessly in the wind.

 The sillouhette at the bottom of the page is simple but works well as it is barely there at all, you can make out very feint areas of the image but I find this interesting.