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Louise Bourgeois' "Maman", Berower Park, Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel

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Published on Sep 6, 2011

Bourgeois's equally fascinating and threatening monumental bronze sculpture of a spider entitled Maman (927.1 x 891.5 x 1023.6 cm) is a key work for an understanding of her art. On the one hand, it is an homage to her mother, who worked in Paris as a restorer of tapestries, and thus, like a spider, continually wove and renewed textile webs. On the other hand, Bourgeois viewed the spider as a universal symbol of the endless story of life, whose principle is eternal renewal. This is as consoling as it is threatening, for there is no possibility of escaping this endless cycle. Accordingly Bourgeois's Maman represents a compelling monument to the existence of change.

Following memorable presentations in and in front of the Tate Modern, London (2000-07), in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris (2007-08), the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao (from 2001) and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (2001), Maman will be on view in Switzerland for the first time. The installation of the sculpture it itself an impressive process, and at every venue where it was shown it became a public favorite that drew crowds of viewers.

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