She was the first female artist to get her own retrospective in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, her career covers seven decades, and her psychologically poignant works span a huge variety of media and subjects. French art matriarch Louise Bourgeois has taken over Edinburgh’s art galleries with two simultaneous exhibits at the National Gallery of Modern art and the Fruitmarket Gallery.
The exhibit at Modern One, A Woman Without Secrets, takes Bourgeois’s later mixed media sculptural works as its centerpiece. Cast bronze, fabric, mirrors, and more form dramatic psychological tableaux that reveal the artist’s inner anxieties and neuroses. This dynamic and varied show is accompanied by a smaller, more focused, but equally worthwhile accompanying exhibition in the Fruitmarket Gallery. I Give Everything Away focuses on drawing suites Bourgeois completed late in her life. Taking up the entire ground floor is a haunting set of the 220 Insomnia Drawings, created during an eight month struggle the artist had with insomnia. The upper gallery features two highly emotional and expressionistic sets of drawings, When Did This Happen? and the titular I Give Everything Away, which are large scale and tremendously evocative. Both exhibitions work together to present a comprehensive view of the vast range of techniques and subjects Bourgeois worked with.
Despite her passing in 2010, Louise Bourgeois’s work still feels fresh, and has inspired younger generations of artists to delve into the world of their lived experience, anxieties, and longings for the subject matter of their work. Any artist, or fan of Bourgeois’s work, should make a point of visiting this perfect storm of exhibitions, at two great galleries that are within walking distance of each other. A Woman Without Secrets runs at Modern One now to May 18th, and I Give Everything Away will be up at the Fruitmarket Gallery until the 23rd of February.