01 November 2013
I Give Everything Away
The other day I hopped down the hill to one of the best contemporary galleries in Edinburgh, The Fruitmarket Gallery, where they just opened a new exhibition of Louise Bourgeois works to complement a major exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. I'm actually not sure I've ever seen any of her work in person before this, so I'm excited to get to the Gallery of Modern Art as well. The exhibition is titled I Give Everything Away, after a suite of large drawings by the same title on display. The Fruitmarket exhibition goes through February 23rd, 2014.
The Fruitmarket Gallery exhibition presents Bourgeois's Insomnia Drawings, 220 drawings made in that blurry phase between sleeping and waking. She used sheets of paper that she had on hand, including sheets lined for music and lined notebook paper, and did combinations of writing and drawing that are at times very personal. The clustered line of drawings wends throughout the rooms of the ground floor, roughly in chronological order, starting in November 1994 and ending in June 1995.
On the second floor (first floor if we're in the UK; this gets confusing) there are larger works on paper made at the end of her life, in 2010. They are a mix of hand-colored etching, writing, and drawing which were, to me, a bit more evocative than the snake-like procession of Insomnia Drawings downstairs.
It's a really wonderful exhibition in a fantastic space. I like very much how the first floor is almost overwhelming, "labyrinthine" as the info pamphlet says, in the sheer number of pieces and how tightly they're displayed. The other part of the space is much more open; the works on display and the two different exhibition spaces really complement each other that way.
The Fruitmarket Gallery has also published a catalogue to accompany the exhibition, titled Has the day invaded the night or the night invaded the day? Insomnia in the work of Louise Bourgeois. They have copies sitting around on benches throughout the gallery and it's a really beautiful little book with many of the Insomnia Drawings shown both sides, where in the gallery they are obviously only able to display one side of a sheet of paper.