Sunday, June 05, 2005

Louise Bourgeois about modern art

Which artists do you like?
I like Francis Bacon best, because Francis Bacon has terrific problems, and he knows that he is not going to solve them, but he knows also that he can escape from day to day and stay alive, and he does that because his work gives him a kick. And also, Bacon is not self-indulgent. Some people will say, "What do you mean by that? He always paints the same picture." That's true - he always paints the same picture, because he is driven. But he is not self-indulgent. Never.

(...)what does modern art as such mean to you?
What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways to express yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having no absolutely definite way of expressing yourself. This is why modern art will continue, because this condition remains; it is the modern human condition. (...) [Modern art] is about the hurt of not being able to express yourself properly, to express your intimate relations, your unconscious, to trust the world enough to express yourself directly in it. It is about trying to be sane in this situation, of being tentatively and temporarily sane by expressing yourself. (...) It is about the difficulty of being a self because one is neglected. Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied. Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern.

- Louise Bourgeois (interview with Donald Ksupit, 1988)


Hans said...

I find Bacon sometimes very self-indulgent, for example those wrestling lovers. But self-indulgence is sometimes something I like at artists, when they go beyound the safety, like Kippenberger (dead), Jonathan Meese (alive) and Beuys (dead).
One of my favourite artists is Michel Majerus (sadly also dead already)
Self-indulgence in the sense of the German "Maßlosigkeit" and "Zügellosigkeit" - immoderateness and intemperateness.

vvoi said...

Yes, I find the choice of the word very nice: self-indulgence. Unfortunately my knowledge of German is not quite sufficient to appreciate the exact meaning you give the word, but I think I get the feel of it. The idea that taking risks is somehow egocentric (SELF-indulgence) is interesting, appealing and scary.

Katarzyna said...

would you mind if I copy Bacon's words on my blog? I find them particularly explanatory...Thanks

katarzyna said...

No, they are Louise Bourgeois's words...Sorry

vvoi said...

You would have to ask Bourgeois about that :)


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