Cell (The Last Climb), 2008

 

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Constantly referred to by critics as ‘installation pieces’ these are rare among installation work for making manifest a self- determined, architectural, material description of the artist’s own psychic space, rather than the artist making manifest their psychic(or intellectual or whatever) space within a given architectural space. Their role in protecting the artist from her childhood abandonment and loss of self is apparent from her own statements. Little in the work is reducible to object-status ; things in the works are never treated in a manner that can be identified as symbolic objects but retain an ambivalent status . Thus, for instance, marble ‘sculptures’, referring in both material and its working to a well-established tradition of object-making are placed in space or juxtaposed with other materials. Likewise, found objects, in the works are not placed to emphasise their Surreal nature or their usage as universal symbols or to encourage a reading of them as fetish objects: rather they are used as visual material with which an idiosyncratic narrative is being articulated. Viewers are attracted in to the Cells . but at the same time kept at bay through Bourgeois’s description of this her symbolic space. She does this sometimes literally by making us peer in, while refusing us clear physical or visual access: sometimes she does this through her image. With what can be for the viewer a baffling lack of didacticism for such precisely selected or made things and such rigorously articulated space.

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