Louise Bourgeois

Louise Bourgeois created these 8 holograms in 1998. She viewed the 8 images as one piece and the imagery include lovers, chairs, bell jar and enclosures. These elements reoccur in many of Bourgeois installations and are related to her interest in physical and emotional isolation and sexuality. The holographic image is created by laser beams that record the light field reflected from an object, burning it onto a plate of glass. The image is scaled at a one-to-one correspondence with the original sculptural material that was created by Bourgeois.

One of the most striking aspects of these works is their color, a saturated red that recalls the illumination of an old-fashioned darkroom. While it fits the content perfectly, Bourgeois’ use of this shade of red is actually the result of a materials-based decision. Holograms are glass plates that appear black until they come to life when struck by light at a particular angle. Depending on the way the glass plate is originally encoded, the hologram will have a base color of red or blue. The master plates for Bourgeois’ editions are red, and it was her intention not to tamper with the purity of the diffracted light carrying the image to the viewer’s eye. The dazzling clarity inherent to the process and the holographic affect has the viewer reaching out as if they could touch a 3-dimensional object. Furthermore, the laser light recorded not only to top surface of the chairs but also the underside of the chair. Also, Bourgeios was able to incorporate a lenticular affect for the lovers, where the sexual partners switch places as one walks by the image.

Louise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911 and lived in New York from 1938 until her death in 2010. She was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French minister of culture in 1983. Other honors included the Grand Prix National de Sculpture from the French government in 1991; the National Medal of Arts, presented to her by President Bill Clinton in 1997; the first lifetime achievement award from the International Sculpture Center in Washington D.C.; and election as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1993 she was chosen to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. Her work appears in the most important museum collections worldwide and has been the subject of several major traveling retrospectives organized by the Tate Modern, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Brooklyn Museum; and The Kunstverein, Frankfurt.

Louise Bourgeois’s art © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York.