Destruction of the Father / Reconstruction of the Father
Writings and Interviews, 1923–1997
This first collection of writings by artist Louise Bourgeois is both intellectually rich and psychologically revealing.
"Every day you have to abandon your past or accept it and then if you cannot accept it, you become a sculptor." Beginning at the age of twelve, the internationally renowned sculptor Louise Bourgeois both wrote and drew, first a diary precisely recounting the everyday events of her family life, then notes and reflections. Destruction of the Father (the title comes from the name of a sculpture she did following the death of her husband in 1973) contains both formal texts and what the artist calls "pen-thoughts": drawing-texts often connected to her drawings and sculptures, with stories or poems inscribed alongside the images. Writing is a means of expression that gained increasing importance for Bourgeois, particularly during periods of insomnia. The writing is compulsive, but it can also be perfectly controlled, informed by her intellectual background, knowledge of art history, and sense of literary form. (She frequently published articles on artists, exhibitions, and art events.) Bourgeois, a private woman "without secrets," gave numerous interviews to journalists, artists, and writers, expressing her views on her oeuvre, revealing its hidden meanings, and relating the connection of certain works to the traumas of her childhood. This book collects both her writings and her spoken remarks on art, confirming the deep links between her work and her biography and offering new insights into her creative process.