Tissée, tendue au fil des jours, tendue au fil des jours, la toile de Louise Bourgeois


Editions du Seuil - 2003
With a CD from 1996: “Litanies and Accidents” written and read by Louise Bourgeois.
Length 66’50’’

192 pages
ISBN-10 : 2020573601
ISBN-13 : 978-2020573603


> read a excerpt       > available @


Back Cover :

The interviews collected in this work resound with the strong, bold and singular words of one of the most fervent and prolific artists of our time. Her art is an unconscious self-portrait. If she is the murderess, she is also someone who makes amends; all her work is cathartic. This is illustrated by, among others, the texts of her “Litanies,” with their savory dose of self-mockery. Louise Bourgeois draws on her family history to make works of astonishing formal freedom. Employing a vast and liberating eclecticism, she worked in all formats (from embroidered handkerchiefs to monumental sculpture), used all materials (wood, latex, marble, bronze, fabric), mixed genres and went freely from abstraction to the organic, from figuration to the geometric, from the rigid to the malleable, from the noble to the ordinary, from the polished to the rough, from the visceral to the sexual…

Retracing her encounters with Pierre Bonnard, Fernand Léger, Constantin Brancusi, Le Corbusier or Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois expresses her conception of friendship - inseparable from the fear of others - as well as the conflicting emotions that framed her life. This prompted her to proclaim: “In my world, violence is everywhere!” but also “So long as we love, we grow!”


Introduction :

An admirer of Louise Bourgeois’ work for many years, I contacted her in 1996 with the intention of conducting an interview and recording sounds in her studio (which intrigued her greatly: it seemed more reasonable to her to come take pictures than to record sounds of her sculptures!). She granted me an appointment at her home in New York. Incidentally, she told me on the phone that she liked flowers, so for our first meeting, I found myself on her doorstep with a bouquet of tulips. As the conversation had trouble getting started, Louise soon began to systematically break all the stems… In silence, I pulled out my tape recorder and recorded the dry and clear sound of the snapping flowers. The contact was established. She then asked me to make tea, took a seat in her library on a high chair – a mix between a throne and a baby chair – and once installed began to roll up the hem of her dress… The fear of others was quite real. I couldn’t help but think of her Femme-maison drawings, which depict hospitable women carrying a knife in their mouths!

A ritual was then established for our daily meetings, at her home or in her studio in Brooklyn. The ritual was reestablished in the years that followed during each of my trips to New York.

The interviews included here resound with Louise’s strong, singular and bold words; during these interviews she never wanted to engage in theoretical exchanges, considering that she had nothing to explain or justify, that her work spoke for itself.

Today, one of the most widely admired artists, Louise Bourgeois gained recognition at nearly seventy years old. It was, according to her, this belated recognition that allowed her to work in complete freedom.

Indeed, despite the aesthetic currents she came in contact with – surrealism, abstract expressionism, hyperrealism, conceptual art – it is clear that Louise Bourgeois never let herself be seduced or enveloped by any of them. Wary of all theorizing, she drew upon her family history to make her work. Whatever the mode of expression employed, the driving force behind her art remains the exorcism of her childhood traumas. Her style developed like a rhizome, in quasi-direct relationship to her instinctual effervescence. It is this passionate vehemence, of autobiographical origin, that presided over the accomplishment of her work. Therefore, remaining outside of any system, and without obeying any formal orthodoxy, she relentlessly faced everything that sprang from her memories, her emotions, or her relationship to others, to establish her bold and untamed artistic expression.

This enduring practice of revisiting affects from the past, of recreating interior turmoil and upsets, led her to say and reaffirm that art is first and foremost a catharsis, a therapy, that creativity brings solace because it brings order to chaos by sublimation, by displacement, by playing with analogies, and by excursions into the unconscious. “All my work is an unconscious self-portrait, it allows me to exorcise my demons. In my art, violence is everywhere…” And yet, Louise is just as suspicious of analytical positions as she is of aesthetic theories. For her, all these approaches, as interesting as they may be, are simplistic, rigid, inaccurate, or even misleading. Only the strength of forms, which expresses in abstract terms all emotions, all the complexity of the different states of consciousness, doesn’t lie.

Employing a vast and liberating eclecticism, she worked in all formats – from embroidered handkerchiefs to monumental sculpture, to her Cell installations – she used all materials – wood, latex, marble, bronze, fabric – and went freely from abstraction to the organic, from figuration to the geometric, from the rigid to the malleable, from the noble to the ordinary, from the polished to the rough, from the visceral to the sexual…

Jacqueline Caux


Press :

> Berlin, Une vieille dame fileuse - Le Temps - April 4, 2005
> Louise Bourgeois - par F.H. - Le Nouvel Observateur - June 5 to 11, 2003 - n°2013
> La toile de Louise Bourgeois - Les Inrockuptibles - May 7 to 13, 2003 - n°388
> The Art of Life - CancerFutures - Vol. 2
September/October 2003 - Springer-Verlag France
> Louise Bourgeois, entretiens avec Jacqueline Caux - par Raya Baudinet
art press - July-August 2003 - n°292
>, 2003