Monday, August 8, 2011

Louise Bourgeois- The Puritan: 8 Triptychen-1990-1997. Galerie Fahnemann: Fasanenstr. 61 10719 Berlin, de, by craniv boyd.

Louise Bourgeois- The Puritan: 8 Triptychen-1990-1997. Galerie Fahnemann: Fasanenstr. 61 10719 Berlin, de, by craniv boyd.


All is right in Berlin, when you can see, art works on paper, created by a: productive, late, North American and celebrated, artist Louise Bourgeois.  At gallery Fahnemann, the intimate store front setting on a quiet west Berlin street, is pitch perfect with, the reserved, narrative hand colored, copper plate prints by an artist, who was well past sixty years of age when she made the cycle of 8 etchings titled the Puritan.


The structure of the cycle is a cohesive whole and is partitioned into text in the center panel and stereo images of nearly identical geometric abstract forms. The dual images deviate from one another in their details; the hand coloring of the identical plates, the vertical orientation, or where the aqua tint field is, or where ink has been left on the cooper plate for printing.


What most could find unapproachable or inaccessible about geometric abstraction, minimal shapes, there on a picture plane, is in this series of mature Louise Bourgeois playfully subverted. Viewers could be, as I was lured into a game of seeing. Where same-ness of minimal imagery, is teased into singularity, uniqueness of the artists hand. The shapes, that bookend the central text in bland san-serif type, take on illustrative meaning, when set against the words of a mysterious story with, first person, third person, and personal pronouns and no familiar names, yet as shapes, Louise Bourgeois, keeps those elements of the art work, resolutely, on a plane of mysterious import.


The story of The Puritan takes that terrifying space between prose and poetry. And Louise Bourgeois, in this work has not staked all, on one or other of those absolutes. The roughly eight paragraphs long tale asks if the viewers know the New York Sky, and tells them that: they should know it. The words employed in the tale are both clear and uncomplicated, all self reflective of the title and content of the whole series, Puritan.


With eight pages Louise Bourgeois, did a similar accomplishment, short rich story in eight pages only, to German playwright, Heiner Muller and his post-modern eight-page adaptation of W. Shakespeare's Hamlet, die Hamletmaschine. Both works rapidly transport their readership with few pages, the densely complicated references and language of H. Muller, more telling of an artists wordy look from divided Germany, jarringly expressionistic. The Puritan takes people to a different cultural vista, that landscape that speaks of social circles of a successful, elderly artist woman, living on the upper east side of Manhattan, and having a warehouse to make her art in Brooklyn, minimal and stable.


It is a pity, that given such high caliber minimal works on paper are shown, all etchings respite with magical moments of simple art bliss, that one print, all prints carefully, mounted, framed, behind glass would be damaged, holding a hardcore crease deep in the surface of its archival paper. Minimal art, works on paper, brilliant, for their restrained elegance are unforgiving when damaged. By craniv boyd. 

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