Posts Tagged ‘exhibitions’


Louise Bourgeois has died. Famously the product of a tapestried and betrayed childhood, famously the creator of versions of a spider Maman (or as Bloomberg put it “freaky giant spiders”), famously stitching for dear life, her work often makes me think of fairy tales, their special brew of magic and brutality.

Here’s an article about her by Germaine Greer and a lovely piece by Eimear McKeith from a number of years ago, on an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’s work at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Bourgeois is quoted in that piece:  ‘When I was growing up, all the women in my house were using needles. I have always had a fascination with the needle, the magic power of the needle. The needle is used to repair the damage. It’s a claim to forgiveness.” I love this idea of stitching scraps together to recreate. I’d love to know if it’s something that occurs to other sewers and stitchers. I’ve always been attracted to patchwork, scraps coming together to make a whole, particularly when the scraps are part of a past life, or someone else’s past life, which is then mapped across a bedspread or hanging. 

The Double Sexus exhibition in Berlin (Bourgeois with Hans Bellmer) is now going to run until mid-August. 

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The Natural History Museum in Dublin is being reopened today after a couple of years of closure rather dramatically heralded by a collapsing staircase.

It was a strange place because you approached the elephant and other big guns (so to speak) from behind, as if you were creeping up on them – apparently this is because when the new entrance from Merrion Street was created (still known as the “new” entrance, though it was made some time round the turn of the century) it was too much bother to turn everything around. The intriguing thing about the NHM was not so much staring into the beaded eyes, or tracing the stitched-up seam along a furred stomach, or searching ghoulishly for bullet holes, or realising you have started to use words like thorax and genus, but experiencing a crowded, narrow-aisled, galleried Victorian museum – the glass cabinets, the pinned moths, the leatherette curtains to be drawn back from the glass display cases, and silently replaced, weighted with brass rods. There’s so much interpretation and representation going on in museums that sometimes the items themselves are cast into shadow. I’m interested in seeing how many of the old characters resurface in the new museum, and which of the story displays they’ve kept – the snow scene showing a white hare (I think), the modern seaside scene showing the ravages of pollution, the seagull’s oily wings, the plastic top of a six-pack of beer.

But here’s a thing – everyone is saying oh! in auld Dublin, generations of children have spoken of it fondly as the Dead Zoo. Well I grew up a few hundred yards from it, walked past it twice every one of my schooldays, knew every missing knob on those weirdy wide butterfly drawers, touched everything that wasn’t meant to be touched, and I never in my life heard it being called the Dead Zoo, so either that was kept from me for 35 years or it’s a load of eyewash.

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