I didn’t know her until I saw her today at a local Museum in Basel, Switzerland. Of course, I wasn’t fortunate enough to meet her or know her while she was alive. But, we all know value of people exponentially increase upon their death, so I clearly met her when she is most valued, hence her work is in a Museum and we must pay to see them.
Louise Joséphine Bourgeois; 25 December 1911 – 31 May 2010 was a French-American artist. Although she is best known for her large-scale sculpture and installation art, Bourgeois was also a prolific painter and printmaker.
If anyone follows me on Social media, they would know that I’m on holidays in Switzerland these days. My holidays, not dissimilar to my life is a spontaneous series of affairs. I rocked up in Switzerland not knowing what I would get upto.
So it’s quite normal for me to wake up and start walking aimlessly! This is when I stumbled upon Fondation Beyeler Museum in Basel, Switzerland.
The place was stunning and immediately grounded me. But what caught my attention was this sign that said;
Most of her art was geometrical patterns. Her art screamed of childlike innocence, that overflew with wisdom of an old soul. The paper used for her drawing was mostly music sheets.
It took me a while to absorb myself in her work. Then I noticed a picture of herself, which for whatever the reason made my heart skip a beat.
Then I stopped to read about her. There was quite some information about her experiences of insomnia.
The funny thing is, 2500 years ago, there was a man named Gauthama Siddhartha, the Buddha. He is said to have only slept 2 hours a day, where the rest of the time was dedicated for his work. Of course, in this day and age, it would have been labelled insomnia, and who knows he would have had to take psychiatric treatment if the man was alive today.
This made me wonder,
Did people see Louise’s work as valuable art during her able times, or did we only start appreciating her work, her life, and her efforts, once she became a fragile and old or even a dead human being?
This beautiful human being who appears to have never given up expressing herself in various forms of art, also happens to have the same birthday as Christmas day. Of course the date 25th December has many arguments about it, but if we purely focus on collective concious energy of human beings, 25th December must be a day people are collectively happy, and try to remember family and friends. And Louise was born on that blessed day.
I didn’t know any of this when I looked into her eyes today at the Museum. But she touched my heart, and I had to read about her. And what I found out about her made me love her more.
In 2010, in the last year of her life, Bourgeois used her art to speak up for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) equality. She created the piece I Do, depicting two flowers growing from one stem, to benefit the nonprofit organization Freedom to Marry. Bourgeois has said “Everyone should have the right to marry. To make a commitment to love someone forever is a beautiful thing.” Bourgeois had a history of activism on behalf of LGBT equality, having created artwork for the AIDS activist organization ACT UP in 1993.
She must have been a beautiful human being. I hope the world looked after her while she was alive. What’s the point of us paying 20+ Swiss Francs to see her work after she is dead and gone.
I hope we allowed her nocturnal nature to be. I hope we didn’t give her too much grief about her lifestyle and mind/body clocks.
I guess that is all I can do,
When she has entered the timeless realm, her nocturnal life has become priceless pieces of art to be appreciated in daytime by art critiques. 💁♂️
– Nim –