Destruction of the Father / Reconstruction
of the Father: Writings and Interviews
Violette Editions (1998, world excl. North America)
Edited and introduced by Marie-Laure Bernadac
and Hans-Ulrich Obrist
Designed by Peter B. Willberg
Paperback, 384 pages, 140 b/w illustrations
20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 in)
£19.95 Buy the book
'The role of rage in female artistic creation rings out with a special resonance in Bourgeois's writings. Bourgeois says what she feels, without fear that her statements won't add up to a seamless whole. She has succeeded in fashioning a creative self, as richly ambiguous as her sculpture.' – Linda Nochlin, Lingua Franca
From the age of twelve and throughout her life, the internationally renowned sculptor Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) made written notes and drawings: first a diary precisely recounting the everyday events of her family life, then observations and reflections. Destruction of the Father – the title comes from the name of a sculpture she made 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 sculptures, with stories or poems inscribed alongside the images.
For Bourgeois, writing was a means of expression that gained increasing importance over the years, particularly during her 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 thinking and process.
Marie-Laure Bernadac is chief curator in charge of contemporary
art projects at the Louvre. She previously worked at the Picasso Museum, at the Centre Georges Pompidou, and at the Capc Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux. Bernadac has
published numerous books on artist's writings, including those
of Picasso, Annette Messager (published by Violette Editions),
and Jenny Holzer.
Hans-Ulrich Obrist is Co-Director of the Serpentine Gallery in London and was formerly a curator at ARC Musée d'art moderne
de la Ville de Paris and at the Museum-in-Progress, Vienna. With Robert Violette, he edited The Words of Gilbert & George, also published by Violette Editions.
(Published in the USA/Canada by The MIT Press in association with Violette Editions)