2008. február 22., péntek

Louise Bourgeois: Cells

We both visited the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at the Tate Modern in December/January. One of the most memorable features of the exhibition were the cages or 'cells'. They evoked a strong sense of place and atmosphere and were extremely emotive. A contradiction is created by putting personal objects inside a cage, locking them away, yet they are displayed in a public gallery. The artist is exposing her deeper emotions whilst making it clear that it is still not for the viewer to participate. In this way the viewer can be seen as voyeuristic or even forced to become a voyeur. In some of the installations the viewer has to go inside the piece in order to see the contents, but even then is still stopped from getting too close.

By constructing a cage around the objects and sculptures, by incorporating it into the piece, the insides of the cage become significant. The cage acts as a device, symbolically and metaphorically of entrapment by the external world, as much as a guard against it. During our visit to Ecseri Piac, we were struck by the remnants of a broken nation. Because the market was only partly open, many of the stalls were closed and their contents locked away in cages, though still on display. The resemblance to the works of Louise Bourgeois was striking and we took photographs to document this.

In effect Bourgeois' cells and the Ecseri Piac cages are the same thing, only in different contexts. The Ecseri Piac cages are people's personal affects, locked away while on public display, as much as Bourgeois' cells are. Further than this, there is a melancholy atmosphere surrounding the Piac because we are aware these affects are to be sold off. The main difference between Lousie Bourgeois' cells and the cages at Ecseri is that whereas Bourgeois has deliberately arranged the items within the cage to intentionally portray an emotion and evoke a response, the Ecseri cages were constructed through practicality and any effects upon the viewer are accidental.

However, this also poses the question of attributing significance to an art piece simply because it is in a gallery environment. What makes the cages at Ecseri any less significant or artistic? I think that in a way they could be considered more so because they are accidentally beautiful, less contrived, and are haunting through their context in reality and social and historical relevance.

1 megjegyzés:

shaun írta...

Hi Angus and Laura

As the great man said (Joseph Kosuth) - all art is 99% context dependent, something you must have heard me say before. Of course he is right in some respect, anything taken from its original context immediately has it's function changed, a tension is established and therefore a dialogue is created , within the work. Think to Duchamp, and his objects; on the one hand a functional object, dictated by its context, on the other (because of that shift of context) an object devoid of it's original function and imbued with a new one. That of the art object. I suppose that it all boils down to intent, the intent of the main instigator. You might view these cages as art, but this was not how they were intended by their author, the person that arranged the objects in the first place. Interestingly, you have brought them into an arts context, simply by photographing them, you are reframing them, changing both the context, and indeed the function. The intent then switches over to you.